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T20 World Cup: Inclusion of Lanka, Bangladesh has made group tougher, says Bavuma

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Abu Dhabi, Oct 23 (IANS) South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma believes that the inclusion of sub-continent Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from Round 1 has made Group 1 of the Super 12 stage tougher. He added that his team’s focus after the five-wicket loss to Australia in their first match of the ICC men’s T20 World Cup will now be on the match against defending champions West Indies in Dubai on Tuesday.

“I think the inclusion of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, two sub-continent teams in sub-continent conditions does make the group a lot tougher. The group was never an easy one, but I think we know that in every game, we are going to have to come with our best cricket. I mean, with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh coming in, we’ll be preparing as best as we can. Our next assignment now is the West Indies and our focus will be there,” said Bavuma in the post-match press conference.

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Despite being restricted to 118/9 in 20 overs, South Africa’s bowlers didn’t make the chase a cakewalk for Australia. They took the game to the final over before a calm Marcus Stoinis sealed the match in Australia’s favour.

Revealing about the talk which happened in the innings break, Bavuma said, “It’s obviously quite tough coming into that second half of the game knowing that you’ve only posted 118. I think from the bowlers, we just ask them to stick to their plans and execute as well as they can; fielders, to throw everything out there, support the guys as much as they can. And just try to build their pressure. Build pressure, let them make the mistakes. When the chances come, we try to take it, and I feel that’s what we did, I mean, our bowling effort for the majority of their innings.”

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Bavuma was in praise of left-arm wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi putting out a great show with the ball. In four overs, Shamsi conceded just 22 runs and accounted for Glenn Maxwell’s wicket in the 16th over. With Maxwell’s wicket, Shamsi became the third South African bowler after Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir to take 50 T20I wickets.

“Shamsi has been a massive performer for us in the last while. I think it’s not by accident that he is the No. 1 T20 bowler. We lean a lot on Shamsi as a bowling attack, in terms of his taking wickets and controlling the middle phase. Today he did exactly that. He’s an attacking option for us. I think a good foil with Keshav (Maharaj), and I think going forward, we’ll obviously be leaning on Shamsi’s performances and hopefully, he can go from strength to strength,” concluded Bavuma.

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–IANS

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