Markram vows Proteas shift in South Africa’s T20 World Cup push

Ahead of South Africa’s first Super Eights match at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, Aiden Markram believes his side have more to give on the quest for silverware in the West Indies.

By Daniel Beswick in Antigua

Despite an undefeated start to T20 World Cup 2024, South Africa captain Aiden Markram believes the Proteas can lift to a higher standard on a challenge for the title come late June.

Pushed by the likes of Nepal, Bangladesh and The Netherlands on their run, their victory against Sri Lanka to begin their campaign is so far their only dominant performance of note.

Batting has been tricky for the Proteas, particularly on the bowler-friendly surface of the Nassau County International Cricket Ground, where they played their first three matches before a trip to Saint Vincent in a heart-stopping win over Nepal.

The Proteas won by one run

Moving to Antigua, the skipper feels the side feel reinvigorated, knowing that more balanced conditions could suit the side, and finding form at the right time could well put them in the hunt.

"(We are) still striving for that perfect game,” Markram began.

“Obviously, things don't work out perfectly, but if we can start putting complete games of cricket together moving forward, give ourselves a crack to get into semi-finals … we’re just one or two good games away from doing something really special.

“The guys are still really fizzed up about that idea and the thought of doing that, (but) understanding the fact that it's three pretty big games for us to get into that position and have that opportunity.”

With the bat, only David Miller (101) has passed three figures for the tournament in the midst of the challenging conditions, fighting through spicy bowling spells, most notably fighting to 59 not out in the win over the Netherlands.

Markram (31 runs) acknowledged his slow start, but believes the move to Antigua and Super Eights cricket should bring better fortune with blade in hand.

"Conditions have been quite tough for us with the bat. Now it's a fresh start,” he added.

“If you speak as a batting group, we get the chance to get new conditions, and it will hopefully be slightly more batting friendly for us."

“Our bowlers have been really good for us and potentially bailed us out of jail once or twice. But it's understandable.”

South Africa’s opponents in the USA meanwhile have been the surprise packet at the tournament, upsetting Pakistan on the way to a second place finish in Group A move to the second phase of the tournament.

"They have been really good. A lot of people will say 'smaller nation', but they're not and they've proved that they're not anymore," Markram said.

"So, we're going to 100 per cent have to be on our best game for things to go well, but I'm excited for that challenge."

“(They have) a good seam attack, good couple of spinners and then an explosive batting order that any one of those guys on their day can make life really difficult for you.”

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