Proteas to open the T20 World Cup against Australia
SA will face Australia in the opening match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Abu Dhabi International Cricket Stadium in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on October 23.
This was confirmed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday when they unveiled the schedule of the 16-team event that will come to an end in Dubai on November 14.
In Group A of the Super 12 stage, the Proteas are grouped with England, Australia and the West Indies along with two yet-to-be-determined qualifiers.
SA will play the West Indies on October 26 in Dubai and England on November 6 in Sharjah. Group 2 of the Super 12 stage consists of India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan and two yet to be confirmed qualifiers.
SA captain Temba Bavuma said the tournament is important as they look to claim their first ever ICC World Cup trophy.
“The 2021 ICC T20 World Cup is of vital importance to the Proteas and SA as a nation,” said Bavuma.
“Not only is the T20 format a key part of Cricket SA’s strategy to introduce new fans to the game of cricket, but this tournament will also be the first of three opportunities for us to claim our first-ever ICC World Cup trophy.
“The group that we are in is an exciting one and we’re looking forward to facing off with everyone in it as we go about our mission to reach the final and the ultimate championship.
“We have an exciting team that we are building with a lot of raw talent, coupled with the experienced hands that will guide and lead the youngsters. We have spent the greater part of the year preparing for this contest and I look forward to leading our country in my first world showpiece as captain.”
Australian wicketkeeper and batter Alex Carey said: “I think the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is really exciting. We have waited an extra 12 months for this one and to have it now in the schedule and see the draw that Australia has got is truly exciting.
“Any time we get to play against England is exciting, we know how dominant they have been in the white ball format over the last few years. Coming up against the West Indies recently, we know how tough that can also be. So, we are really looking forward to this tournament.”
SA recently claimed a five-match T20I series with a 25-run victory over West Indies earlier in July and they continue their preparations with a limited tour to Sri Lanka.
In Sri Lanka next month, SA are scheduled to play three ODIs and as many T20Is in subcontinent conditions that are similar to what they are going to play in the UAE.