Home Sport Cricket Belief is there for Proteas ahead of England clash says KG

Belief is there for Proteas ahead of England clash says KG

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Kagiso Rabada will certainly be called on to contain this rampant England batting line-up, who are arguably even more dangerous than they were seven years ago.

South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada (right) bowls during the ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup 2024 group D cricket match against Sri Lanka at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in East Meadow, New York on June 3, 2024. Picture: TIMOTHY A CLARY, AFP

THE PROTEAS and England have been involved in some epic matches at the ICC T20 Men’s World Cup over the years.

None more so than the run-fest in Mumbai in 2016, when England chased down a record 229/4 with just two balls remaining.

And after the bowlers held sway for the initial group stages of the current tournament in the United States and Caribbean, the two global giants are gearing up to meet again on yet another batting paradise at the Daren Sammy Stadium in St Lucia on Friday (4.30pm SA time start).

The Gros Islet surface is comfortably the best batting wicket in the Caribbean – Scotland and Australia posted a cumulative total of 365 runs, Sri Lanka belted out 201/6 against the Netherlands and hosts West Indies put up a record 218/5 against Afghanistan, before England chased down the co-hosts’ 180/4 with 15 balls to spare on Wednesday night.

Only three Proteas – Quinton de Kock, David Miller and Kagiso Rabada – remain from that balmy night at the Wankhede Stadium, while England still boast five in captain Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid and Reece Topley.

The trio remain central to the Proteas’ fortunes as De Kock and Rabada, in particular, showcased against the USA, with the former belting 78 and the latter claiming 3/18.

Rabada will certainly be called on to contain this rampant England batting line-up, who are arguably even more dangerous than they were seven years ago.

They also have the confidence of now being the defending champions that have fought back from the brink of exiting this tournament to once again being touted as the first team to win back-to-back T20 World Cup titles.

Rabada, though, is not too worried about fronting up to the challenge, regardless of the pitch being heavily tilted in favour of England’s mega batting unit.

“There’s no point in thinking about it. You just take it game by game, and the belief is there. Belief is there. If you don’t have the belief, then you might as well go pack your bags and go home,” Rabada said.

“You have to adjust on the go. We are professional cricketers and we’ve come across variable conditions throughout our careers, and I guess we should have an idea of how to adapt.

“You’ve got to realise your own strengths and have an idea of where you’re going to play and who you’re playing against – and then it’s about adapting while you’re playing.

“So, it’s about juggling all those three facets.”

Adaptation is certainly key to Rabada’s success, especially as he has also been called upon by his captain Aiden Markram in various match situations during this T20 World Cup.

There have been occasions where he has shared the new ball with Marco Jansen, then used later in the PowerPlay and called on in the middle to strike, while also playing a pivotal role during the “death” overs.

Rabada feels he is ready for any scenario.

“I don’t mind where I bowl, wherever the captain needs me,” he said.

“I think I’ve had enough experience bowling in any phase of the game, and I think I have a good idea of how to go about it in any phase.

“If it’s your day, then it’s your day. And if it’s not, then it’s not – but you want to win more days than you lose. So, I’ll just try my best whenever I have the ball.”

SA’s Heavy Artillery

The Proteas have some heavy artillery of their own though to take aim at England, who would still have some scars from last year’s 50-overs World Cup 229-run mauling, again in Mumbai. Heinrich Klaasen was exhilarating in the energy-sapping heat, with the middle-order batter belting 109 off just 67 balls, while Jansen provided brilliant support from No 7 with an undefeated 75.

Reeza Hendricks also stroked a fluent 75-ball 85 at the top of the order.

It’s all set up for a festival of runs set against the backdrop of the carnival atmosphere only a St Lucian crowd can drum up. Everyone then better hold onto their Panama hats and rum punches, for this is going to be a batting bonanza of bombastic proportions.

Teams For St Lucia

South Africa: Aiden Markram, Ottniel Baartman, Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, David Miller, Anrich Nortjé, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs.

England: Jos Buttler (captain), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Tom Hartley, Will Jacks, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Reece Topley, Mark Wood.

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