Proteas set sights on their first ever World Cup trophy
Consistently among the favourites at both Men's ODI and T20I World Cups since the late '90s, South Africa have never made it past the semi-final stage of either event.
That is a record they are determined to correct this year when they start their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 campaign against Australia on 23 October.
“The 2021 ICC T20 World Cup is of vital importance to the Proteas and South Africa as a nation,” captain Temba Bavuma said.
“Not only is the T20 format a key part of Cricket South Africa’s strategy to introduce new fans to the game of cricket, this tournament will also be the first of three opportunities for us to claim our first-ever ICC World Cup trophy.”
The Proteas have drawn a tough group in the Super 12 stage, pitting them against reigning champions West Indies, 2016 runners up England, the always dangerous Australia and two more teams from the First Round.
Bavuma’s team has built up momentum steadily going into the tournament, recently clean sweeping Ireland 3-0 after beating Super 12 opponents West Indies 3-2 earlier in the year. However, having tasted T20I series defeats in their most recent campaigns against England and Australia, they’ll have to be at their best to reach the knockout stages.
“The group that we are in is an exciting one and we’re looking forward to facing off with everyone in it as we go about our mission to reach the final and the ultimate championship,” Bavuma said.
“We have a really exciting team that we are building with a lot of raw talent, coupled with the experienced hands that will guide and lead the youngsters.
“We have spent the greater part of the year preparing for this contest and I look forward to leading our country in my first world showpiece as captain.”
The Proteas will get the chance to build further momentum heading into the tournament when they take on Sri Lanka across three T20Is in September.
While they have a tough group, the South Africans will know they have it in them to progress to the knockout stages. With the ball, they will be backing Tabraiz Shamsi - the No.1 T20I bowler in the world on the ICC rankings - to make his presence felt alongside one of the quickest attacks in the tournament. Throw in a batting order featuring the likes of Quinton de Kock and David Miller and you should have a recipe for success.