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HomesportscricketFormidable South Africa wary of Bangladesh threat

Formidable South Africa wary of Bangladesh threat

Mumbai: South Africa will look to build on their superlative performance against the defending champions when they take on a struggling Bangladesh in their World Cup match on Tuesday, knowing well that taking the foot off the pedal at this stage could spell trouble.

South Africa were off to a flier when they thrashed Sri Lanka and Australia by 100-plus margins, but a shocking defeat against the Netherlands pegged them back before they demolished England by 229 runs to put their campaign back on track.

Bangladesh might not look too threatening in the World Cup but their record against the Proteas, especially in World Cups, gives them more than a chance in the contest.

Three of South Africa’s six defeats to Bangladesh in ODIs have come in the last four years, including when the Tigers beat them by 21 runs in the 2019 World Cup.

In their four meetings so far in World Cups — 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019 — the Proteas have lost to the Asian rivals twice — 2007 and 2019.

The Proteas can ill-afford to take Bangladesh lightly knowing the damage they have inflicted and the fact that the Asian side is packed with all-rounders, namely their skipper Shakib Al Hasan and Mehidy Hasan Miraz among others.

Besides, South African opener Quinton de Kock has had two forgettable outings — the last one at Wankhede where he scored just four against England on Saturday.

Still, the Proteas managed to set a 400-run target for Jos Buttler’s side.

The wicketkeeper-batter, who has played several IPL matches at the Wankhede for Mumbai Indians, would be itching for a big score to regain the touch that saw him score consecutive centuries in the first two matches of the World Cup.

Temba Bavuma missed the game against England due to illness and if he is back in contention, Reeza Hendricks will make way for the skipper in the playing XI.

Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen are a formidable pair in the middle-order and David Miller too would want to get a big score under his belt after a string of ordinary outings.

Centurion against England, Heinrich Klaasen would be hoping for an encore against Bangladesh.

For Bangladesh, captain Shakib remains a concern as he did not not bowl in their practice session here on Sunday.

The all-rounder suffered a quad injury against New Zealand in Chennai on October 13, and has not been in the playing XI ever since with Najmul Hossain Shanto leading the side.

Shanto was confident that Shakib would return to action soon the last time he spoke to the media, and it remains to be seen if the senior-most member in the side is fit enough to take the workload.

Top-order batters Tanzid Hasan and Litton Das have been amongst runs, and scored half-centuries against India in the previous game. But Bangladesh batters have lacked is the gumption to make a big score. The batter-friendly Wankhede pitch will provide them the opportunity.

Shanto and Miraz have their task cut out in the middle-order given the uncertainty over Shakib’s availability. Bangladesh would also be served well if the experienced Mahmudullah Riyad gets promoted in the batting order after his 46 against India.

Squads:

Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (c), Litton Das (wk), Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Najmul Hossain Shanto (vc), Tawhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah Riyad, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nasum Ahmed, Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Shoriful Islam, Tanzim Hasan Sakib.

South Africa: Temba Bavuma (c), Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Lizaad Williams.

(Published 23 October 2023, 10:15 IST)

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