Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist


Unbeaten Proteas not taking US lightly in Super 8 battle, says Hendricks

The US played to a tie against former champions Pakistan in the opening round.


Having been given a shake by lower-ranked teams in the opening round, Proteas batter Reeza Hendricks says the national side will be ready for a fight when they face co-hosts the United States in their first match of the Super 8 stage at the T20 World Cup in Antigua on Wednesday (4.30pm SA time).

Though they went unbeaten in the group stages, all four of South Africa’s matches were closely contested, particularly in a four-run win over Bangladesh and a one-run victory against Nepal.

And while the US are not among the title contenders, at least on paper, they played to a surprising tie against Pakistan in the opening round, winning the match in a super over and eliminating the former champions.

https://twitter.com/ProteasMenCSA/status/1803062902917652698

“This is not the stage to take any team lightly. They are in the Super 8s for a reason and they did well against Pakistan in the group stage to qualify,” Hendricks said on Tuesday.

“We’ll approach them as we do with any team we play against, and hopefully we come out on top. We have to put our best foot forward.”

Close encounters

With the Proteas bowlers having contained their opposition in the first round, Hendricks believed they could shine at the death again if they were pushed to the line against their American opponents.

“We found ourselves under pressure (in the group stages) and we came out on top… so going forward, hopefully the games aren’t as close, but we believe now that we can come out on top in those close games,” he said.

Having struggled to perform as well as the bowling unit thus far at the global showpiece, Hendricks hoped the conditions in Antigua would be more suitable to the batters.

The opener said the specialist batters in the squad remained in good spirits and he felt they could hit their straps in the business end of the competition.

Still positive

“We obviously know the wickets we’ve been playing on have not been ideal for the batters, but I think the methods and the way we want to go about it – the positivity we want to feed off each other – is still there,” he said.

“So we’re hoping to get on some wickets where the batters can contribute and put some good scores on the board.”

After Wednesday’s match, South Africa will face defending champions England on Friday and tournament co-hosts West Indies on Sunday, as they go in search of a spot in the T20 World Cup semifinals.

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