Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - South Africa out to keep pace with growing qualification aspirations. South Africa building a can-do culture that involves several players pulling their weight
South Africa building a can-do culture that involves several players pulling their weight
Bangladesh's chances of earning their first win of the T20 WC by beating South Africa in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday were slim before Sunday, when they dwindled still further with Shakib Al Hasan's elimination from the rest of the tournament because of a hamstring injury.
The removal from the equation of the key allrounder was the worst possible news for a side who have stumbled to defeat against Sri Lanka, England and West Indies. That's especially considering they're up against opponents who, after going down to Australia, beat the Windies and the Lankans.
The South Africans have also emerged, apparently unscathed, from the crisis that erupted when Quinton de Kock pulled out of the game against the West Indians in Dubai last Tuesday rather than comply with a board directive to take a knee.
If momentum exists in sport beyond the level of pundits casting about for something to say to earn their keep, it's with Temba Bavuma's team as they look to take another step towards what seemed, before the tournament, the unlikely goal of reaching the semi-finals.
For Bangladesh, Tuesday's match is a dead rubber in all but name: barring mathematical miracles they are already out of the running for the semis. And yet, it might have been different. England beat them properly, by eight wickets with 35 balls to spare. But the Lankans got home with only seven balls to spare and the Windies by a marginal three runs.
The South Africans have had the mirror-image experience. Australia scrambled to victory with just two deliveries remaining, and they beat the Windies and the Lankans with 10 balls and a single delivery unbowled. Consequently, rather than relying on one or two stars they are building a can-do culture that involves several players pulling their weight. The mere fact that they won without De Kock, who withdrew on the morning of the West Indies match, proved as much.
While Bangladesh have fallen short trying to play a fairly orthodox brand of T20 cricket, South Africa have set off on their own path. As their captain, Bavuma is immovable. He is also among their slower scorers. That seems a negative factor, but if none of your batters are shooting the lights out for significant periods it becomes an important positive element – the bits and bobs of briskly scored runs add up to defendable totals if someone immune to panic like Bavuma is at the other end keeping the innings in one piece.
On the bowling front, Anrich Nortje's bristling pace, Tabraiz Shamsi's rasping spin and Dwaine Pretorius' coolness under pressure have offered valuable contrasts. It isn't often that players of the calibre of Kagiso Rabada find themselves at the bottom of the pile: he brings up the rear in the attack for the tournament with his average of 43.50 and economy rate of 7.90. That said, Rabada's batting has been handy – he made a sensible 19 not out against Australia, and without his seven-ball unbeaten 13 against Sri Lanka the result would have been starkly different.
South Africa's biggest test so far looms against England in Sharjah on Saturday, but they will know that they can't afford to lose on Tuesday. If they keep playing like they have done, the pressure to win becomes motivation rather than the signal to freeze in the headlights it used to be for teams from their country.
When: Bangladesh vs South Africa, Super 12 Group 1, 14:00 Local, 12:00 SAST
Where: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
What to expect: The tournament's friendliest batting conditions. Unlike in Dubai and Sharjah, no side have been dismissed in Abu Dhabi during the Super 12 stage. But the pitch isn't a featherbed: Afghanistan's 160/5 against Namibia has been the only first innings of more than 125 there, and teams have lost nine wickets in three of the four matches. It's an even-handed venue – two sides have won batting first, and two fielding first.
T20I Head to Head: Bangladesh 0-6 South Africa 11-5 (0-1 in T20 WC games)
Injury/Availability Concerns: Shamim Hossain seems the frontrunner to replace Shakib Al Hasan, but the vacancy could also be filled by Nasum Ahmed or Rubel Hossain. Nural Hasan sat out against West Indies on Friday with what team management have described as a “lower midriff injury”. He remains unavaiable for tomorrow's clash. That might mean another opportunity for Liton Das.
Tactics & Matchups:Catch! Bangladesh spilled three chances and botched a stumping against the Windies. They've dropped nine catches in their six games at the tournament. In the Super 12, they've had three half-centuries hit off them while scoring two, but they have had bowlers concede more than 10 runs an over in an innings six times.
Probable XI: Mohammad Naim, Liton Das (wk), Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah (c), Afif Hossain, Mahedi Hasan, Shamim Hossain, Shoriful Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman
Injury/Availability Concerns:David Miller was hobbling with a dodgy hamstring while hammering South Africa to victory over Sri Lanka in Sharjah on Saturday. Tabraiz Shamsi has been dealing with a tweaked groin since the warm-up games. Shamsi has been cleared to play since South Africa's first match, while Miller will undergo a final fitness test on Tuesday. He batted and ran well during training.
Tactics & Matchups: Keep on keeping on. Unusually, South Africa arrived with minimal expectation of success. But they have found ways to be competitive, even though they boast only one half-century – Aiden Markram's 51 not out against West Indies – and just one of their bowlers has gone for less than a run a ball: Anrich Nortje's economy rate is 5.16.
Probable XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma (c), Aiden Markram, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi
Did you know?
Dwaine Pretorius has taken 10 wickets at an average of 8.2 and a strike rate of 6.4 in the 10.4 overs he has bowled at the death – from the 16th to the 20th over – in T20Is in 2021.
What they said:
“Obviously the boys are gutted. They know the expectation back home is high. They know the media interest is high. They probably feel they've let a few people down in terms of not crossing the line.” – Russell Domingo
“I'm trying to make sure I'm bowling to the batter's plan C and D instead of their plan A. It's not an ego battle out there; it's trying to be as effective as possible. If I can do a job for the team and put us in a better situation, I'm willing to do that ugly job. It doesn't always look the prettiest, but when it works it's very effective.” – Dwaine Pretorius.