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Rabada says Proteas have a challenge ahead as Australia loom in World Cup opener

19 October 2021 - 15:27
Kagiso Rabada is one of the senior players at age 26.
Kagiso Rabada is one of the senior players at age 26.
Image: Isuru Sameera Peiris

Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada believes the Proteas' shortcomings in previous global tournaments will count for nothing during the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in the coming days.

But Rabada said he would rather not dwell too much on history.

The Proteas are best known for their heartbreaking losses in World Cup tournaments, as happened in the 2011 quarterfinal and the 2015 semifinals, and two years ago when they crashed out in the pool stages.

“I don’t even like to talk about that, the baggage and what has happened in the past. I don’t want to talk about it too much,” Rabada said ahead of the team’s opening World Cup match against Australia in Abu Dhabi.

“No one in the past has tried to lose games and we are coming in with the same mentality.

“I think it is not even worth talking about. We just have to play.”

The Proteas will play the West Indies on October 26 in Dubai and against two yet to be determined qualifiers on October 30 and November 2 before a confrontation with England in Sharjah on November 6.

“We are a team that wants to express to the world how good they are. We have a challenge in front of us.”

The Proteas beat Afghanistan by 41 runs in Abu Dhabi on Monday in their first warm-up match as captain Temba Bavuma employed a three-pronged spin attack of Tabraiz Shamsi, Keshav Maharaj and Bjorn Fortuin.

The match marked Bavuma’s return from a finger injury he sustained in Sri Lanka last month, but the skipper came through well with a contribution of 31 runs as the Proteas defended a modest 146 run target.

The Proteas have a second and final warm-up match against Pakistan on Tuesday before taking on Australia at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Saturday at 2pm SA time.

SA comes off successful tours where they won in Sri Lanka and the West Indies in the build up to the World Cup, with Rabada saying the team’s preparations have gone according to plan.

“The confidence levels are there and we have been rebuilding as a team and so far it has been going according to plan.

“Mow it is about taking this challenge because everything that is in the past is in the past, but we do take confidence from it.

“We know we can beat anyone on our day if we play well and apply ourselves. It is  about taking it one step at a time going into this World Cup.”