Markram feels taming Tigers won’t be easy

South Africa captain Aiden Markram and the Proteas will look to qualify for the Super 8s today by beating Bangladesh in New York in their ICC T20 World Cup group encounter. | AFP

South Africa captain Aiden Markram and the Proteas will look to qualify for the Super 8s today by beating Bangladesh in New York in their ICC T20 World Cup group encounter. | AFP

Published Jun 10, 2024


Zaahier Adams

Proteas captain Aiden Markram believes his team’s crucial ICC T20 World Cup clash against Bangladesh today will be a “proper challenge”.

Markram’s team have collected a maximum four points from their two matches and a victory over the Tigers will secure qualification for the Super 8 stage. Bangladesh, meanwhile, are also unbeaten after edging Sri Lanka in their only match so far and will be eager to take another step forward to the Super 8s, too.

The Proteas have the advantage of having played both their previous matches at the Nassau County Ground in New York, the venue for the clash against Bangladesh, while the Tigers have moved to the Big Apple from Dallas.

“If you look at conditions, and you look at a really strong Bangladesh team, it’s going to be a proper challenge for us,” Markram said.

“But we’ve luckily had the privilege of playing two games now on the surface and at this venue. Hopefully it can give us even clearer plans and we can develop plans from a batting point of view how to get to a score of maybe about 140 if we do bat first and hopefully then our bowlers can do the rest.”

While the Proteas have enjoyed solid support in New York in the two clashes against Sri Lanka and the Netherlands, the Bangladeshi fans will surely outnumber the green and gold in the stands today and can be expected to make plenty of noise.

Said Markram: “There will be lots of Bangladesh supporters, I’m sure ... You just zone into what’s happening inside the boundary ropes and putting a lot of focus on that.

“A crowd cheering obviously will give away a lot of which team has the momentum. So, if they’re pretty quiet then it means we’re doing well. We’ll drive that message and try to keep the crowd as quiet as we can.”

South Africa’s Ottniel Baartman boasts figures of 5-20 after two matches at the ICC T20 World Cup. | AFP

The Bangladesh encounter will undoubtedly be a step up in intensity and another challenge for Proteas seamer Ottniel Baartman to look forward to.

The Sunrisers Eastern Cape star has been a revelation at this T20 World Cup for the Proteas so far, with the 31-year-old’s cumulative figures for the tournament being 5-20 from eight overs, which includes a career-best 4-11 against the Netherlands in the last match.

Fellow Proteas paceman Anrich Nortje has also rediscovered the form that earned him a reputation as one of the most dangerous fast bowlers on the planet not so long ago. His cumulative figures of 6-26 have been equally impressive.

“Both of them have been fantastic. You look at Anna, maybe (in) the build up to the World Cup he would have liked to have done better, potentially come with more confidence,” Markram said.

“But we had him just before his massive injury, and he was, at that time, probably one of the best bowlers in the world. I don’t think that changes, I think (he) just (needed) a bit of backing and a bit of game time, naturally, to get that rust out. And then naturally a wicket where there’s a bit for him to work with at least helps.

“Ottniel is really clear, keeps things really simple, got a nice skill set and that’s what they back. So, it’s great to see it’s worked for the two of them (and) probably the whole bowling attack so far. But for us as a changing room, it’s great to have Nortje firing and full of confidence.”