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Monday, June 24, 2024

‘The batting unit is in a good place at the moment,’ says Proteas captain Temba Bavuma

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Cape Town — Cuttack to Visakhapatnam is 462 kilometres.

The shortest travelling time between the two cities is close to nine hours. That’s after the Proteas travelled almost 1260 kilometres east from the capital Delhi after the first T20I.

Considering the temperatures have been in excess of 40 degrees Celsius throughout India during this period, it becomes abundantly clear what an achievement it would be for Temba Bavuma and his team should they close out the series in a town beautifully known as “The City of Destiny” today.

Much has been written about the fact that the hosts are resting superstars such as Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja among others, but the visitors too have had their fair share of setbacks since arriving in the subcontinent.

The ’s No 2-ranked T20I batter Aiden Markram missed the first two matches due to contracting Covid-19, while Quinton de Kock was ruled out of the last match due to a finger injury.

But such is the resistance Bavuma’s side has shown over the past 12 months they have simply found others to fill the breach. In came Heinrich Klaasen — after an international absence across formats since October last year — to take over the responsibility with the Titans captain smashing a brilliant 81 off 46 balls in Cuttack to maintain the winning momentum.

“I think that depth is something you are always trying to be building and then you get a guy like Klaasie getting an opportunity with Quinny suffering that freak injury to his hand,” Bavuma said.

“I mean Klaasie took that opportunity with both hands. He is obviously a big player for us in the middle innings because we know what he can do. We back him 100 percent and we have a lot of belief in him and he showed it there and why he is a part of a team. The batting unit is in a good place at the moment.”

It certainly does seem like the pieces are all starting to fit in nicely for as much as there is a series to be won today — or over the next three matches — this is all preparation for the T20 Cup in Australia later this year.

And with virtually everyone within the batting unit seemingly in good form, Bavuma’s tidy innings of 35 from 30 balls during a crucial partnership with Klaasen also bodes well for the future.

“I haven’t played in a while, so it was a bit tricky up front to be honest with the ball nipping around. There was also a bit of variable bounce. But I just tried to hang in there as much as I could and allow a guy like Klassey to get himself in and kind of play around him,” Bavuma said.

“Time in the middle is gold for me right now and obviously I’m looking to build from that innings. But the next game is upon us, it’s a quick turnaround and we’ll prepare as well as we can for the next game.”

With the series on the line today South Africa are unlikely to make any unforced changes to their line-up in the hope that the likes of Kagiso Rabada and David Miller can put up their feet once business has been taken care of.

LIKELY TEAMS TEAMS FOR VISAKHAPATNAM

South Africa: Temba Bavuma (c), Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje.

India: Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant(w/c), Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Avesh Khan.

Start: 3:30pm TV: SS2

@ZaahierAdams

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