Good time for batters to find form – Aiden Markram | T20 World Cup

The Proteas start the Super 8s with a match against the USA at 16:30. Here is everything you need to know about the match, plus word from South Africa captain Aiden Markram.

Check out our Preview ahead of the match against the USA in Antigua.

You can see what Aiden Markram had to say in the pre-match press conference.

[Reporter:]

First of all, moving here to Antigua, what’s the mood of the camp like at the moment?

[Aiden Markram:]

Yeah, it’s been good thanks. Beautiful country and had a couple of good training days so excited for the start of the Super 8’s for us tomorrow and yeah, a completely fresh start that’s sort of how we’re seeing it and we are excited for the first challenge which is the USA tomorrow.

[Reporter:]

Yeah, looking at say your opponent’s tomorrow they’ve obviously probably made arguably the most headlines at this tournament so far what have you made of them and what’s the mindset going into tomorrow?

[Aiden Markram:]

Yeah, they’ve been really good I think not just them but a lot of the people will sort of say smaller nations, but they’re not and they’ve proved that they’re not anymore. So, we’re going to 100% have to be on our best game tomorrow to, hopefully for things to go well, but I’m excited for that challenge. A team that we haven’t played much cricket against so looking forward to that and different conditions here in Antigua as well so all those things sort of together, we probably have to assess pretty quickly and develop plans out there on the field that can hopefully do the job for us.

[Reporter:]

Yeah, you talked about some of the other teams and the challenges of the group stage and everything that went with that. I think There’s probably a comfort in knowing that you guys probably haven’t played your best cricket as yet, but you’ve still maintained and got the important results to get here. How does that feel knowing that, yeah, you guys are still sort of timing your run, knowing that you’ve been able to kind of win games, without necessarily playing it at 100%?

[Aiden Markram:]

Yeah, still striving for that close-to-perfect game. I thought our bowlers so far throughout the comp have been really good for us and potentially bailed us out of jail once or twice. But it’s understandably so. Conditions have been quite tough for us with the bat. And like I said at the start, now it’s a fresh start for us. Specifically, if you speak as a batting group, we get the chance to get to new conditions, hopefully slightly more batting-friendly for us, and a good time for us to start peaking and finding some form moving forward in the competition.

[Reporter:]

It’s obviously a one game at a time situation for you guys, but you also play the West Indies here at the back end of the Super 8’s campaign, so how important, in the case of not only winning tomorrow, but getting used to the conditions out here, how important will that be in your campaign?

[Aiden Markram:]

Yeah, it is important. I think as much info as you can get from each game from a certain venue can definitely help you moving forward. Like you mentioned, we’ve got West Indies here in a few games time. Time of the game different being a day and night against the West Indies. But still, I think there’s quite a bit of information that you can take. And If I’m not mistaken, I think each team sort of has two games at a venue and hopefully for us we can get a lot of that information tomorrow and fine-tune plans moving forward into that West Indies game later on.

[Reporter:]

And finally, being a 20-team competition and no real clear favourite, I think one could argue It’s been a case of everyone almost kind of just timing their run, maybe somewhat hiding under the radar as well. Is it a case of South Africa in 2024 – why can’t it be us, South Africa, as winners of the tournament?

[Aiden Markram:]

Yeah, we’d like to think that a hundred percent. We feel like over the last couple of years. We’ve been playing good cricket. Had had a really good 50 over World Cup last year and took a lot of confidence from that. So, like you mentioned, you try to time your run perfectly. Obviously, things don’t work out perfectly, but if we can start putting complete games of cricket together moving forward, give ourselves a crack to get into semifinals and knockout cricket and then you kind of know you’re just one or two good games away from doing something really special. So, the guys are still really fizzed up about that idea and the thought of doing that and but also sort of understanding the fact that it’s three pretty big games for us to get into that position and have that opportunity.

[Reporter:]

Is there any lessons from that World Cup last year or anything in terms of how you’re preparing or approaching for this stage of the tournament that you’ve adjusted on?

[Aiden Markram:]

Yeah, not a hell of a lot. I mean you do take lessons as best as you could. Obviously from a conditions point of view it’s quite different here, but maybe now into this phase of a competition there might be a couple of similarities. The format is obviously quite different, So the way you structure the game, the way you take the game on looks quite different between the two formats. But firstly, you take that belief knowing that we got into a semi-final and that it’s quite easily possible for us to do that. But having said that, it’s now going a step or two further. So, trying to firstly earn the right to hopefully get to that knockout game and if we do then ultimately the chat will be trying to play our best game of cricket as a team and whatever sort of happens from there is just a game of cricket and what’s meant to be will unfold as it’s meant to be.

[Reporter:]

Did you watch the USA group games and can you sort of say one thing that sort of stood out about their performances so far.

[Aiden Markram:]

You haven’t watched much cricket to be very honest with you It’s been it’s been pretty busy, but you catch a few highlights here, and then it looks pretty explosive – so a good seam attack, good couple of spinners and then an explosive batting order that any one of those guys on their day can make life really difficult for you. So, trying to have plans in place to combat that, to keep them quiet ultimately to get them out as well. But again, a fantastic opportunity and exciting challenge for us tomorrow.

[Reporter:]

There’s probably a fair few batters coming to the Caribbean who’ve had a bit of a rough time in the US. Just mentally though, given that some of them would have had low scores, but you were able to push that to the side, knowing the conditions and feel more positive here or is it a case of you think there will be a few batters feeling their way for some runs?

[Aiden Markram:]

I think, hopefully it’s on the side of new conditions and a lot of excitement and buzz around that but guys are only human. If you’ve not been scoring runs, you tend to maybe search for your first 5 – 10 balls of an innings. But it’s about backing the fact that if you get through that phase, hit a couple of good shots, and it automatically brings that feel-good factor back to you and sort of just run with it from there. So hopefully the conditions are better to bat. I think they’re still going to be challenging but potentially the opposite side of the scale in terms of it might spin a bit more now and obviously in New York there was none of that so – but having the game and the plans and the options from a batting unit point of view in your locker, but more importantly feeling the bravery and the courage to bring them out if needs be if the wicket is turning like that.

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