Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Proteas target place in second round of T20 World Cup

Aiden Markram feels the Proteas have a better idea of how to play in New York, and they are ready to raise the bar against Bangladesh.

Aiming to keep their opponents’ fans quiet in New York today, captain Aiden Markram says the Proteas are eager to face Bangladesh (4.30pm SA time) as they target a spot in the Super 8 stage of the T20 World Cup.

The SA team have already defeated former champions Sri Lanka and bogey team the Netherlands, climbing to the top of Group D in the first round of the tournament, and another win will see them through to the next stage of the showpiece.

And while they had to dig deep and hang on for hard-fought victories in low-scoring matches in the Big Apple last week, Markram was confident they could show their class and hold off giant killers Bangladesh.

“A crowd cheering obviously will give away a lot of which team has the momentum, so if they’re pretty quiet, then it means we’re doing well,” Markram said on Sunday.

“So we’ll drive that message and try to keep the crowd as quiet as we can.”

‘Strong Bangladesh team’

Looking good in the early stages of the tournament, with their bowling attack keeping them in the hunt, Markram insisted the Proteas were not underestimating Bangladesh, who progressed beyond the opening round at the last four editions of the T20 World Cup.

Should they win, the Proteas would book their place in the Super 8 stage of the tournament, as they went in search of a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

“You look at conditions, you look at a really strong Bangladesh team, and it’s going to be a proper challenge for us. So naturally we’re looking forward to it,” the skipper said.

Fantastic facilities

Markram was also full of praise for the Nassau County Stadium, a temporary facility set up for the World Cup which featured drop-in pitches which had been criticised for being unpredictable at best and dangerous at worst.

“For them to put up a field in a stadium that looks like this is a fantastic effort,” Markram said.

“It all makes sense while the pitch is playing that way. It’s still really fresh and just needs a bit of traffic and some time, but all in all, as a venue, it’s been really cool.

“The training facilities are beautiful, and I think once everything sort of settles down and they get that time, it’s going to be a fantastic place to play cricket.”

Though the conditions remained unpredictable, Markram felt the Proteas had some idea of how to play in New York, and they were ready to raise the bar against Bangladesh.

“We’ve luckily had the privilege of playing two games now on the surface and at this venue,” he said, “so hopefully It can give us even clearer plans.”