Key Proteas players for T20 World Cup opener against Australia
South Africa take on Australia in the much-anticipated opening match of the T20 World Cup, Super 12 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi looking for a strong performance that will lay a solid foundation for them.
The Proteas go into this match with confidence after they won their last five T20s against Sri Lanka (3) and Ireland (2) while Australia were not that impressive with only one victory during their series against Bangladesh.
We look at five Proteas players who are going to be key against Australia.
Quinton de Kock
Possibly South Africa’s best batter, De Kock will not have too many problems with the conditions as he featured for the Mumbai Indians during the recent Indian Premier League (IPL).
He will be motivated to score runs as he is set to achieve a significant personal milestone at this World Cup, because he needs 177 runs to become SA’s all-time leading scorer in T20s.
He is also going to be important with the gloves behind the wickets.
The South African captain will lead the team after overcoming a thumb injury he suffered in Sri Lanka, as he successfully completed two warm-up matches against Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Bavuma, whose Proteas side have won more T20 matches this year than any other side, scored some runs against Afghanistan and Pakistan, 31 and 46 respectively.
Rassie van der Dussen
Van der Dussen is probably the in-form player for the Proteas going into the tournament after his sensational knock of an unbeaten 101 he scored in the warm-up win over Pakistan on Wednesday.
Together with Aiden Markram, who has been in good form and also had a feel of the conditions while playing for the Punjab Kings in the IPL, Reeza Hendricks and David Miller, they are going to be key in the top and middle order.
Kagiso “KG” Rabada
He is another South African player who will have a good understanding of the UAE conditions after he featured for the Delhi Capitals during the recently concluded IPL.
Rabada will lead the South African fast bowling attack that includes Anrich Nortjé and Lungi Ngidi and will be supported by spinners Tabraiz Shamsi, Keshav Maharaj and Bjorn Fortuin.
Shamsi arrived at the tournament as the top-ranked bowler after consistent showings during the season where South Africa won the series against the West Indies, Ireland and Sri Lanka.
However, his participation in the tournament is in doubt as he left the field after suffering a mild groin strain while bowling during the warm-up match against Pakistan during the week.