Markram: ‘Bowlers have been incredible through the World Cup for us’

South Africa
South Africa captain Aiden Markram has hailed his bowlers after they routed Afghanistan for 56 to set up a nine-wicket win, which put South Africa in their maiden men’s World Cup final.
After Afghanistan chose to bat in Tarouba, South Africa’s pace trio of Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje reduced their opponents to 28 for 6 in 6.3 overs. Tabraiz Shamsi then chipped in with three wickets as Afghanistan were skittled for their lowest T20I total.

“[We were] fortunate to have lost the toss, I guess. We also would have batted, so we got a bit of luck with regards to that,” Markram said at the presentation ceremony. “But the bowlers still had to get it in the right areas.

“They got enough balls in the right areas and made life really tough for the Afghanistan batters. So, credit to them.

“They’ve been incredible throughout this whole competition for us. They’ve kept things really simple and sort of assessed conditions and adapted their plans accordingly. And they’ve been incredible for us so far.”

In their chase, South Africa lost Quinton de Kock in the second over, but that was their only hiccup. After a series of close-fought wins in their run to the semi-final, Reeza Hendricks and Markram ensured South Africa won comfortably in Tarouba, knocking off the target in 8.5 overs.

There were, however, questions raised by the state of the pitch, which had excessive movement and bounce from the outset, and produced uneven bounce as the game wore on. A fresh pitch was used for this game, at the Brian Lara Stadium, and it had patches of grass and prominent cracks.

“Yeah, it’s quite tough,” Markram said of the pitch. “I mean, a batter is not going to lie to you and say that once you get it up and down, it doesn’t play a role in your mind.

“But we knew it was a matter of a partnership [in the small chase], taking this thing out a bit up front. Had a bit of luck once again [Afghanistan did not review when Markram was given not out on zero after nicking behind], which we’re fortunate for, and managed to get a bit of a partnership. And from there, it’s going to be a little bit easier.”

Acknowledging the nervy nature of their previous wins in this World Cup, Markram said: “Chuffed to have got it over the line. A lot of our games have been really close. And I know there [have been] a lot of people back at home in the early hours of the morning, waking up, and we [have been] giving them a lot of grey hairs. So, hopefully, this evening was a little bit more comforting for them.”

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