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We have to hit the ground running, says Proteas captain Bavuma ahead of showdown against Australia

Proteas limited-overs captain Temba Bavuma says they must hot the ground running at the ICC T20 World Cup.
Proteas limited-overs captain Temba Bavuma says they must hot the ground running at the ICC T20 World Cup.
Image: eane/INPHO/Shutterstock

Proteas captain and top order batter Temba Bavuma says they must hit the ground running in their hugely anticipated ICC T20 World Cup opener against rivals Australia at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

The Proteas go into this first match of the Super 12 with confidence after they won their last five T20 matches against Sri Lanka (3) and Ireland (2) while Australia were not that impressive with only one victory during their series against Bangladesh.

In fact, the Proteas, who have gone about their preparations without much fanfare, won their last three T20 series against the West Indies, Ireland and Sri Lanka while Australia lost their last two series against the West Indies and Bangladesh.

“You want to throw the first punch,” said Bavuma during his prematch press conference on Friday.

“I think with the way the tournament is set up, with only five games in the group stages, you don’t have time to be behind the eight ball. So, we will be looking to hit the ground running on Saturday by playing our best possible cricket and take it from there.”

Bavuma said they are not reading much from Australia’s recent T20 struggles against the West Indies and Bangladesh.

“I think both teams are under pressure to be honest. What has happened in the past you have to put it behind. Yes, there are learnings that you can take from it but a competitive side like Australia will not allow that type of performances to deter them going forward.

“So, we won’t be undermining them looking at their past results, we know what type of team they are and it is important for us to bring our A-game.”

Bavuma added that Australia is a well balanced side with a good bowling attack and batting department.

“Obviously their bowling attack is strong and having played them in the past they are a type of team that looks to strike up front and really try to get into that middle order. From our point of view with the bat, we want to make sure that we play as well as we can so that we don’t allow them to get into out middle order with their slow bowlers.

“With the bat I think they are top heavy with guys like Aaron Finch, David Warner, Steve Smith, so we will obviously be looking to strike up front and put their middle batters under pressure

“They have resources when it comes to fast and slow bowling as well as from the batting point of view. I hope that we will have a good encounter.”