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Bavuma proves he’s not shackled by red ball

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Bavuma has played two ODIs. He scored a hundred on debut against Ireland in 2016 and made 48 in his second match against Bangladesh

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Temba Bavuma celebrated his hundred for the Highveld Lions in the CSA T20 Challenge final on Sunday, much as he did his most famous innings, with a skip and punch of the air, bat in one hand and his helmet in the other.

Point made then. His full innings lasted 63 balls. He struck 11 fours and two sixes and scored 104. The tournament trophy was duly put in his hands later, and then he could reflect on what motivated him throughout this T20 Challenge.

“I’ve not spoken much about this, but I was quite disappointed the way things went in one-day cricket and the lack of opportunities that came my way (with the Proteas),” said Bavuma. “All of us were fighting for a World Cup spot and any player would have wanted an opportunity. That emotion has been bubbling inside and was probably a strong instigator for my performances.”

Bavuma has played two ODIs. He scored a hundred on debut against Ireland in 2016 and made 48 in his second match against Bangladesh. He was never in the picture for a World Cup spot.

“I’ve always had the belief I can play all formats, but the success I’ve had at the top has been in one format I understand why the public has the view (that I can only play red ball cricket). Just coming into the tournament, we’d had the Mzansi Super League and I had a terrible competition, for me I wanted to right that wrong.”

Sunday’s performance against the Warriors, was no ‘white ball’ one off from Bavuma. He’s been pleading his One-Day case all season. He averaged 53 in Momentum Cup, scoring over 200 runs at a strike rate of 99.53 with a hundred and a half-century in five innings.

In the T20 Challenge – a format many felt he was unsuited for – he finished as the third highest run-scorer with 326 runs.

“I didn’t change much from a technical point of view, but from a mental point of view, I was trying to free myself up. No one rates me in white ball cricket, coming into T20, it was about enjoying it. All in all it wasn’t a bad performance by a so-called Test player.”

On Thursday he will head to England where he will represent Northamptonshire in the second division four-day competition.

“My mind is set on Northants, it’s a wonderful opportunity for me to showcase my skills with another team.”