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Ken Borland

Proteas would dearly like Bavuma to play & get a good score

Posted on January 04, 2023 by Ken

With Tabraiz Shamsi returning to form superbly against New Zealand in their first warm-up match, the Proteas would dearly like captain Temba Bavuma to not only play but also get a good score behind his name in their final dress rehearsal for the T20 World Cup, against Bangladesh in Brisbane on Wednesday.

Bavuma has not appeared for the Proteas in two weeks due to illness, while before that he was out of action for two-and-a-half months with an elbow injury. He has struggled to find form at international level, scoring just 11 runs in four innings since his return to the national team.

So it would really solve an awkward selection dilemma if the captain can produce the goods against Bangladesh at Allan Border Field on the eve of the tournament starting. Everything else looks in place for their opening match on Monday against the top side in qualifying Group B, in which Scotland and Zimbabwe currently have wins over the West Indies and Ireland respectively.

Having spearheaded the nine-wicket win with 52 balls to spare against New Zealand in the Proteas’ first warm-up match, spinners Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj are once again the talk of the towns, enjoying the bigger Australian fields after being taken apart at times on their tour of various smaller Indian grounds.

While Wayne Parnell swung the ball up front to take wickets in his opening two overs, reducing New Zealand to 11/2, the Kiwis recovered to 52/2 after seven overs when Shamsi came on. He dismissed the big-hitting Glenn Phillips with his second ball, then bowled a wicket-maiden in his second over, and rested with outstanding figures of 3-1-6-2.

With Maharaj (3-0-17-3) taking a wicket in each of his three overs, New Zealand lost their last eight wickets for 45 runs in one ball short of 10 overs.

It was an apt reminder of how South African spin has dominated T20s against everyone except India.

“The pitch was a bit slow and that allowed us to utilise spin, but the tone was set up front and we were very disciplined in the field,” Maharaj said. “We know Shamo is world-class and it was good to see him back to his best.

“I know he has a big hand to play if we are going to progress on to bigger things in this World Cup. We were very professional and it’s important for the two warm-up games to create some momentum for us.”

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