OPINION: Proteas favoured in T20 World Cup opener, but poor weather raises stakes | The Citizen





South Africa would obviously back themselves to beat any of the qualifiers in the T20 World Cup, but the stakes are going to be raised even higher on Monday with their opening match in Hobart under threat of the weather.

The Proteas will play the team that tops Group B in the qualifying tournament that ends on Friday, with Scotland, Zimbabwe, the West Indies and Ireland all on two points after playing two of their matches.

But there is an 80% chance of rain on the island of Tasmania on Monday, so South Africa will be anxious not to drop points in their opening match, considering their opponents in the rest of Group II are Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

Unfortunately, the flood rains that are sweeping over the east coast of Australia are showing no signs of abating, and South Africa’s last warm-up match, against Bangladesh in Brisbane on Wednesday, was abandoned, the seventh preparation game to be lost to the rain.

Also read: T20 World Cup warm-up washed out, but Proteas ‘ready to go’

That washout meant Proteas captain Temba Bavuma has not played a match since October 6 and his return to Proteas action since an elbow injury kept him out for two-and-a-half months has seen him score just 11 runs in four innings. That form will also be a cause of anxiety for the squad.

Bavuma’s T20 record

Bavuma is undoubtedly a top-class batsman in the longer formats, but a snub in the SA20 Auction has cast a harsh light on his T20 record, especially a strike-rate of just 116 at international level.

With Reeza Hendricks a wonderfully in-form and ready-made replacement for Bavuma, and a couple of able captaincy options in Keshav Maharaj and David Miller, it is a dilemma for coach Mark Boucher and the selectors.

Does one leave out the appointed captain, who is going through a slump, and backing the batsmen who are in form right now?

Or does one give Bavuma a vote of confidence in the hope that he will find a way to score runs, and briskly?

A decision to drop the captain can often have a destructive effect on team dynamics, but what would a World Cup be without South Africa supplying a healthy dose of drama?

Now read: Jansen gets T20 World Cup spot as replacement for injured Pretorius



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