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Ken Borland

Proteas obvious favourites with just 2% chance of rain

Posted on January 30, 2023 by Ken

The chance of rain scuppering the Proteas’ chances is apparently just 2% and South Africa will be obvious favourites when they take on the Netherlands in Adelaide in the early hours of Sunday morning with a semifinal place on the line.

It’s the simplest of equations for the Proteas – beat the qualifiers and they are in the semi-finals. A defeat or a washed-out match would mean the winners of the game between Pakistan and Bangladesh would go through. Zimbabwe will also still have a chance of progressing if they beat India, but for that to happen and the Dutch to triumph over the Proteas would be two of the biggest upsets in T20 World Cup history on the same day.

Although captain Temba Bavuma said he was not concerned by the performance of the team in their loss to Pakistan in their previous match, the sloppiness of their display is clearly something they cannot afford to repeat. Especially not when they are on the verge of reaching the knockout rounds.

What was frustrating about their showing was that they did everything right for the first 10 overs, knocking over the Pakistan top-order. But their failure to bowl the right lengths in the closing overs was once again the burr in their saddle, Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan lashing quickfire half-centuries as 106 runs were thrashed in the last eight overs.

It was a cold, wet night in Sydney but that did not excuse a messy fielding display, with catches being dropped and straightforward outfielding being duffed.

In terms of the batting, Quinton de Kock and Rilee Rossouw both failed, but Bavuma and Aiden Markram did well enough to have the Proteas on track after the powerplay. But both of them losing their wickets in the same over, shortly before the rain delay, meant the revised DLS target was too stiff for Heinrich Klaasen and Tristan Stubbs.

The Proteas will be hoping the talismanic David Miller has recovered from his back spasm, and they know that winning their next three games will make this event their most memorable world cup campaign ever.

“You can’t afford to give teams momentum and I’m not going to look for excuses for our fielding display,” Bavuma said after the Pakistan loss. “We have been very good up to that game and we have fielded in the wet before.

“But mistakes were made and that was not the type of display you want at this level, especially in this part of the tournament. Maybe the intensity was down a bit, but it was definitely not the standard we pride ourselves on.

“Hopefully we play our best cricket in the next three games, the next one is a must-win and then we have the playoffs,” Bavuma said.

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