Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist


No pressure: Shamsi says Proteas are a team full of match winners

All seven of their matches over the first two rounds were tightly contested, but the Proteas delivered every time.


The all-round ability of the national team has taken pressure off the individual players, according to spin bowler Tabraiz Shamsi, as the Proteas prepare for the T20 World Cup playoffs.

Shamsi was named Player of the Match on Monday morning after taking 3/27 to help his side beat co-hosts West Indies by three wickets (on the DLS method) in a crucial Super 8 encounter in Antigua.

In a match that was disrupted by rain, the West Indies made 135/8. In response, South Africa reached their revised target of 123 runs with five balls to spare.

Needing to win the game to progress to the semifinals, the Proteas again maintained their composure under pressure to remain unbeaten after seven matches in the tournament.

“If you look at the squad, there isn’t any individual you can pick and say this guy is responsible for making this team win,” Shamsi said.

“There’s no pressure on any one individual. We have a lot of match-winners in the squad and on each day someone finds a way to pull the game towards the team.

“So we all know we have the ability to win the games but there’s no pressure on any individual to do it, otherwise we’re in trouble.”

Tightly contested battles

All seven of their matches over the first two rounds were tightly contested, but the Proteas delivered every time.

Shamsi said the SA squad were starting to appreciate close encounters, as they had proved they could stand up under pressure.

“Most of the games have been a lot closer than we would have personally liked, but the amazing thing is that this new Proteas team always seems to get over the line,” he said.

“We’ve been put under huge pressure, basically in every single game we’ve played, and the boys have managed to find a way to win, no matter what the situation is and how close the game is.

“So that’s really pleasing for us as a unit, and it’s sort of like in a funny way, we’re looking forward to it.”
South Africa will compete in the first semifinal of the tournament in Trinidad and Tobago, to be held in the early hours of Thursday morning (2.30am SA time).

Their opponents for the next round of the T20 World Cup will be decided after the last Super 8 match between Afghanistan and Bangladesh on Tuesday morning.

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