Nothing to be scared of: Skipper Markram on South Africa reaching maiden T20 World Cup final

Markram lauded his bowlers for bowling out Afghanistan for a lowly 56.
Last Updated : 27 June 2024, 04:22 IST

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Tarouba, Trinidad: After guiding South Africa to their maiden T20 World Cup final, skipper Aiden Markram urged his players to stay calm and not to be "scared" of the title clash.

South Africa demolished Afghanistan by nine wickets in the first semifinal and now await the winners of the second last-four clash between India and England.

"It is one more step for us, it (the final) is an opportunity we have never had, nothing to be scared of," said Markram in the post-match presentation ceremony.

"This win means a lot. We have some world-class players in the side but like I said, it takes a whole squad to be able to deliver such a performance.”

Markram lauded his bowlers for bowling out Afghanistan for a lowly 56.

"We were brilliant with the ball, got it in the right areas and kept it really simple. The bowlers have been incredible for us."

Markram said the batting was a bit challenging on the pitch that offered pronounced seam movement.

"It was challenging with the bat, as no batter is going to lie and tell you it was easy out there. We had a bit of luck and then got a bit of a partnership.”

The 29-year-old said the whole team was relieved after closing out the match easily.

“We have had a few close games and a few people back home would have woken up early with more grey hairs. Glad today was a bit more comforting,” he added.

Player of the match Marco Jansen, who picked up three early wickets, said they were focusing on keeping the ball in the right areas.

“Awesome feeling. The guys played really well, we executed perfectly. We just wanted to stick to our plan, bowl good lengths and see how the wicket reacts.

“The wicket was getting a bit open, and it was about keeping it simple.”

Tough for us: Rashid Khan

Afghanistan skipper Rashid Khan did not hide his disappointment after going down to South Africa in a one-sided semifinal.

"It was tough for us as a team. We might have done better but the conditions didn't allow us to do what we wanted. That's how T20 cricket is, you need to be ready for all conditions," a dejected Rashid said.

However, the spinner believes his side, which reached its maiden semifinals, has learned a lot from this tournament.

"It is just the beginning for us, we have the confidence and belief to beat any side. We just need to keep our processes. This has been a great learning experience for us.

"What we take from the competition is the belief. We know we have the skills, it is just about managing tough and pressure situations,” he noted.

So, is there any area he can think of improving as a team?

"Yes, some work to be done, especially in the middle order to take the innings deep. We have achieved good results so far but we come back doing more hard work, especially in the batting department.”

Rashid credited South African pacers for sticking to their guns in a stellar fashion.

“I think they bowled really well. I think we got good success in this tournament because the seamers bowled really well. You need good starts (when bowlers are on top).”

The 25-year-old said the Afghan bowlers too did just fine throughout the event.

“I think we were unlucky with Mujeeb's injury, but our seamers and even (Mohammad) Nabi bowled brilliantly with the new ball. That made our job easier as spinners.

We will accept playing a semifinal and losing to a top side like South Africa,” he added.

Published 27 June 2024, 04:22 IST

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