Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Markram praises Proteas for ‘massive squad effort’ at T20 World Cup

South Africa will face either India or England in the final on Saturday.

After making history on Thursday, Proteas captain Aiden Markram said he was delighted with the efforts of his entire squad as they booked their place in the T20 World Cup final.

Coasting to a nine-wicket victory over Afghanistan with 67 balls to spare in their semifinal in Trinidad, the SA men’s team secured their spot in a major global final for the first time.

They will face either India or defending champions England (who were set to compete in the other semifinal on Thursday night) in Barbados on Saturday afternoon (4.30pm SA time).

Having won eight matches on the trot, going unbeaten thus far at the tournament, Markram praised his teammates for a “massive squad effort”.

He was particularly pleased with the bowling unit, who had shone throughout the competition.

“The bowlers, not just today, but the whole competition, they’ve been really good, probably saving the batters on certain occasions,” Markram said after the semifinal.

“Conditions I would say have been in their favour, but even if you say that, they still have to get it done right. And that’s exactly what they’ve been doing for us game in and game out.

“So you have to give a lot of appreciation towards them. They’ve been really good for us.”

Golden opportunity

Markram admitted in his post-match press conference that it had not really sunk in yet after they managed to achieve something none of their predecessors had managed.

While they were set to face formidable opponents in the final, Markram remained confident that the Proteas had the ability to get over the line by winning the trophy battle.

“This team’s been together for a long time now as a white ball group, both formats, and it’s nice for us to get to a final,” the skipper said.

“We feel and we believe that we can compete with the best in the world and we can win trophies, and it’s nice for us to now have that opportunity.”

Final team

They would wait until they arrived in Barbados before deciding on the team for the T20 World Cup final, but Markram was pleased with the options they had available to them, regardless of the conditions.

“Once we get to Barbados and we see what we think we’re going to come across in terms of the pitch, then we’ll try to pick our best eleven,” he said.

“But we’re really happy as a white ball group where we are and the options that we do have when it comes to selection.”

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