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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Proteas to give Temba Bavuma every chance to prove his fitness for Bangladesh clash

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Temba Bavuma’s condition is “improving”, but the Proteas captain’s availability for their crunch 50-over Cup clash against Bangladesh in Mumbai today remains uncertain.

Bavuma was ruled out of Saturday’s crushing 229-run victory over England at the same venue due to illness shortly before the toss, with Reeza Hendricks being rushed into action. Bavuma’s condition was so severe that he left the Wankhede Stadium and watched the remainder of the game from the comfort of his hotel room.

Hendricks was a dutiful substitute though, with the classy right-hander setting up the Proteas’ victory over the reigning champions with a polished 85 upfront and would slot comfortably back in alongside

Quinton de Kock at the top of the order again.

But stand-in skipper Aiden Markram claimed the Proteas will give Bavuma every opportunity to prove his fitness over the next 24 hours as he will gratefully hand back the leadership reins.

“The opportunity to captain the previous game is not down to how you’d like things to happen. It was very unfortunate for Temba and we obviously missed him, his leadership on the field,” Markram said.

“He’s definitely improving. There hasn’t been a final call just yet on him. I think they’re going to make the call tomorrow (Tuesday). But he is at least in better spirits.”

Fortunately for the Proteas, the English slayer Heinrich Klaasen has recovered from his exertions during his 109 off 67 balls. Klaasen was completely exhausted, with the intense Mumbai heat and humidity sapping all his energy, which prevented him from taking the field during England’s innings.

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Markram was, however, confident Klaasen would be ready to go again today.

“He’s good. He certainly was man down! The conditions were pretty brutal. He did a lot of hard work for us out there and I think it took quite a lot out of him. He pulled up nicely after the game. The body was really sore and he was quite fatigued,” Markram said.

“But he’s been trying to get treatment and rest in order to get himself good. But as far as I’m aware, you will do well to keep him off the cricket field.

“He’s quite a tough guy and he’ll be itching to go again, I’m sure.”

The Proteas will certainly need all hands on deck against a Bangladesh team that has upstaged them on several occasions before, particularly at Cups.

And while Bangladesh may currently not be experiencing the best of Cups with only one victory from four attempts, the Proteas are on high alert especially after their defeat to the Netherlands last week.

“We haven’t done particularly well against them in the past,” Markram said.

“So, that’s extra motivation for us to come out and replicate what was a good performance against England, but more from an intensity and standard level.

“You have to respect the fact that it’s a new game of cricket and against opposition that’s become a really good white-ball team and then put them into subcontinent conditions, obviously that aids them very well as well.

“We have to respect that fact. You can never take form as an individual or as a team for granted.

“And it’s about us coming here with positive mindsets, taking confidence that we can take, but understanding that we have to replicate that all again to hopefully get a good result.”

Bangladesh also have fitness concerns surrounding their inspirational captain Shakib Al Hasan after the star all-rounder missed their last match against Afghanistan.

Full squads

South Africa: Temba Bavuma (capt), Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Lizaad Williams

Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Litton Kumer Das, Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Najmul Hossain Shanto (vc), Tawhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nasum Ahmed, Shak Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Shoriful Islam, Tanzim Hasan Sakib

@ZaahierAdams

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