An upbeat South Africa will face a struggling Bangladesh in the Group 1 Super 12 game at the ICC T20 World Cup in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
South Africa has won two and lost one, and one of its remaining games is against in-form England. But to keep its knockout hopes alive, South Africa first needs to beat Bangladesh, whose chances of making the last four are slim at the moment.
The Proteas have shown tremendous fortitude in the face of adversity. Despite the controversy involving Quinton de Kock and racism, the players have stood united and found ways to win. The wicketkeeper-batsman brought the side closer by clearing the air later on.
Temba Bavuma has drawn flak for scoring slowly - however, his run-a-ball 46 was key to South Africa getting over the line in a tricky chase against Sri Lanka. He will be under pressure to score at a better strike rate.
The lack of middle-order options means South Africa will adopt a top-heavy approach. In David Miller, they have a batter whose T20 finisher reputation precedes him.
Dwaine Pretorius has emerged as the death bowling specialist, while Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada have been good upfront and at the death. Leg-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi now has more T20I wickets in a calendar year than anyone else. However, Shamsi and Miller have minor injury concerns.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh needs to shore up its fielding. There were three dropped catches during the defeat against West Indies on Friday. Shakib Al Hasan's hamstring injury is a telling blow. The all-rounder will miss the rest of the tournament. Head coach Russell Domingo said on match eve that Shamim Hossain would replace Shakib in the playing XI. Nurul Hasan, who missed the last match, is still unfit.
Soumya Sarkar and Afif Hossain need to come good with the bat while the responsibility to shepherd the middle-order will lie with Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah. Left-arm quick Shoriful Islam, with his change of pace, could be handy at the death.
South Africa is unbeaten in six T20Is against Bangladesh, and the latter will hope to snap the streak.
- World Team Table Tennis Championships: India men’s team beats NZ 3-0, seals passage to knockouts
- Pune Challenger 2024: Ramkumar knocks out Bengaluru Open champion Napolitano in first round
- World Team Table Tennis Championships: India women beat Spain, advance to Round of 32
- Ranji Trophy 2023-24: Iyer, Dube out of Mumbai’s squad for quaterfinal against Baroda
- Indian sports wrap, February 20