SYDNEY: Fast bowler Lungi Ngidi believes the Proteas must play to their strengths when they take on Bangladesh in a crucial ICC Men’s T20 World Cup clash at the SCG in Sydney on Thursday.
South Africa were cruelly denied victory by the weather in their opening match of the competition against Zimbabwe on Monday and they now have some catching up to do when they face-off against the Tigers, who beat the Netherlands in their championship opener.
It means that Mark Boucher’s side have little room for error, but paceman Ngidi insists they are not feeling any additional pressure.
“I think everyone’s under pressure in this tournament if you looking to win,” he told the media ahead of the game. “With that claim that we’ll be hungry to win that’s definitely true. We’d obviously have loved to win in the first game and we know now what pressure we have in terms of going forward in the tournament. To say we’re under more pressure, I would say it’s pretty equal if you looking to win the World Cup. May the best team win.”
The tournament has been a good one for the fast bowlers so far as Australia’s pitches have lived up to their reputation of pace and bounce.
Ngidi said: “I think at the moment we are just playing towards our strengths. From the games we’ve watched so far, we’ve seen that pace has probably been the most successful throughout the tournament, so we’re going to play towards our strengths.
“Against Bangladesh we obviously want to attack them using our strengths and that is the pace. Depending on how they handle that we’ll find out tomorrow but all in all we pretty much run with what we’re good at.”
The nature of the pitches have also led to more happier bowlers and Ngidi continued: “Definitely (I think T20 cricket is better when bowlers have a say in it). It makes things more competitive. We saw the India-Pakistan game, it got really tight and I think that’s what people want to see…not absolute blowouts of teams scoring 240 and then you pretty much struggle to try and get there. I think when the competition gets a lot closer it makes for better cricket.”
South Africa have a formidable record against Bangladesh in T20Is, winning all seven of their previous meetings. However, the Asian side stunned the Proteas by beating then in a One-Day International (ODI) series on home soil earlier this year.
“The last time we played Bangladesh their batsmen came out very aggressively against us,” Ngidi recalled. “So we’re cognisant of that fact. We’ll definitely be targeting their top order. We know they have (captain) Shakib (al-Hasan) to control the middle and if he’s there at the back end. I’m sure their batsmen. But as the bowling unit we’re definitely looking to cut the head of the snake which is probably take out their top order and try to restrict them to as low a total as possible.”
Rain is also predicted for the game in Sydney, but Ngidi says their focus is not on the forecast.
“To be honest you control what we can and the weather’s one thing we don’t have a say in,” he concluded. “We were eager to get out on the park in Hobart and I think everyone that was there did their bit in trying to get a game going, so appreciative in that sense, but at the end of the day we couldn’t control what happened with the rain.
“It does put us a bit under pressure with another forecast of rain tomorrow. I think we just got a bit of bad luck following to be honest but we’ve got no say in how the weather plays out. The only thing we can do is get here and we’ll be prepared to play.”
South Africa squad - ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Australia 2022
Temba Bavuma (captain, DP World Lions), Quinton de Kock (Momentum Multiply Titans), Reeza Hendricks (DP World Lions), Marco Jansen (Gbets Warriors), Heinrich Klaasen (Momentum Multiply Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Momentum Multiply Titans), David Miller (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Lungi Ngidi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Anrich Nortje (Gbets Warriors), Wayne Parnell (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Kagiso Rabada (DP World Lions), Rilee Rossouw (ITEC Knights), Tabraiz Shamsi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Tristan Stubbs (Gbets Warriors).
South Africa Group Stage Itinerary
Monday, 24 October – 19:00 (10:00 SAST)
South Africa vs Zimbabwe ended in a no result – Bellerive Oval, Hobart
Thursday, 27 October – 14:00 (05:00 SAST)
South Africa vs Bangladesh – SCG, Sydney
Sunday, 30 October – 19:00 (13:00 SAST)
India vs South Africa – Perth Stadium, Perth
Thursday, 03 November – 19:00 (10:00 SAST)
Pakistan vs South Africa – SCG, Sydney
Sunday, 06 November – 10:30 (02:00 SAST)
South Africa vs Netherlands – Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]