Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

‘Fearless’ Proteas confident of challenging for World Cup title

The SA team have shown the ability to take games away from their opposition.

Playing a more aggressive brand of cricket under coach Rob Walter, the Proteas are hoping their new approach will put them in the driving seat at the Cricket World Cup.

The national side have won eight of their 12 ODI matches this year, and they hit back from 2-0 down to beat Australia 3-2 in their home series earlier this month.

And while they haven’t been as consistent as their supporters might like, they have secured some crushing victories and shown the ability to take games away from their opposition.

ALSO READ: Flexibility will be key for hard-hitting Proteas at Cricket World Cup

“If I look at the way we’ve gone about our business this year, I think it’s been in stark contrast to what people have known from us as a team,” Proteas captain Temba Bavuma said on Saturday, before the squad left for India.

“We’ve spoken a lot about being bold, being fearless, being positive and always looking for moments to move the game in our favour, and that’s what the guys have really challenged themselves and each other to go out and do on the field.

“So I think for me, that’s the biggest thing, and seeing the kind of performances the guys have put up has really given us strong confidence in each other, and that belief which I think we’ll need over the coming weeks.”

Focused on winning

While the sport had faced multiple off-field issues in recent years, Bavuma said the players had remained focus on the game, and he hoped this mindset would carry them to victory.

The SA men’s side have never reached a World Cup final in any format, but Bavuma believed they had the foundation and the skills required to end the nation’s lengthy trophy drought.

“As a group, our focus is on winning and playing good cricket, and we have the hope and understanding that if we do that consistently then everything else will fall into place,” the skipper said.

“At the end of the day, in the team, you’re there to bat or to bowl, and it’s about doing that job as well and as consistently as you can.”

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