Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Compiled by Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

Bavuma reveals key factor behind Proteas’ run to T20 World Cup semis

Captain Aiden Markram has been praised for his excellent decisions and tactics during a number of tight games at the tournament.

South African Test captain Temba Bavuma has praised the leadership of team-mate and Proteas T20 captain Aiden Markram for guiding the side into the T20 World Cup semi-finals.

The Proteas will take on Afghanistan in Trinidad on Thursday (2.30am) for a place in the final where either India or England await. South Africa’s Proteas team have never reached the final of the T20 or ODI World Cups.

Markram’s team are the only side to have a perfect seven from seven record at the tournament which is being held in the USA and West Indies. India are also unbeaten in the tournament though they have had a washout in one match.

‘Phenomenal leadership’

South Africa’s wins so far have been anything but easy, with several matches going down to the wire, but Bavuma believes Markram’s calm demeanour and leadership have built a good confidence and belief in the team to win in pressure situations.

“Aiden may not have scored the number of runs he would have liked, but his leadership has been phenomenal,” Bavuma told sportsboom.com.

“His captaincy style really brings the team together and has given them a lot of belief. It’s collaborative leadership and you can see the team have that belief and they are really playing for each other.

“I think tactically Aiden has also been very good, using all that spin against the West Indies was really crucial. He’s getting the best out of the players, and you can see how much it means to them.”

“KG Rabada has his big celebrations back every time he takes a wicket; it’s not that he hasn’t been celebrating, but now you can really see how much it means to him every time he gets a wicket,” Bavuma said.

‘Very strong strategically’

Proteas white ball coach Rob Walter has also lauded the leadership of Markram.

“Aiden is a very understated leader, but the team listens when he speaks, he is massively respected in the changeroom,” Walter told sportsboom.com.

“Strategically I think he has been very strong – defending low scores so often means he has to be good tactically to win because he does not have a lot of margin for error.”

Walter, who is now two wins away from becoming South Africa’s first World Cup-winning cricket coach, added 29-year-old Markram’s level-headedness was key in the tournament so far.

“Aiden has a real competitive edge, and he is 100% engaged in everything he does, but he is also very calm and level-headed, which creates the right environment for the players to produce their best performances.

“He’s running the show and making the right decisions – I don’t think KG has ever bowled his first over in the 18th over before, but that sums up the flexibility. It was also great to see Aiden bowl all four of his overs against the West Indies, he backed himself.”

“He has been able to sum up very quickly how to best utilise the resources he has in the conditions we’ve been playing in, and that feel is a real skill of the game. We’ve had to play the tricky conditions in front of us and Aiden is always trying to take the game on. It’s created some seriously good games of cricket,” Walter said.

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