This is a “really good feeling” – Aiden Markram after Semi-Final win against Afghanistan | T20 World Cup

Aiden Markram reacts to the Proteas beating Afghanistan by 9 wickets to reach their first-ever World Cup Final.

The Proteas bowled out Afghanistan for 56 runs in the T20 World Cup semi-final. This was the first time a team has been bowled out for below 100 in a semi. Lowest T20 total against South Africa ever and Afghanistan’s lowest ever total.

READ OUR MATCH REPORT: Proteas thrash Afghanistan to reach 1st ever World Cup Final

We discuss the semi-final in our review show:

Here is what Aiden Markram had to say after the victory:

[Reporter:]

Aiden, the most obvious question, World Cup final – what does it feel like? I mean, has it even sunk in yet?

[Aiden Markram:]

Probably hasn’t, no. The bits that we’re realising now, it’s obviously a really nice feeling, really good feeling. This team’s been together for a long time now as a whiteball group, both formats, and it’s nice for us to get to a final. We feel and we believe that we can compete with the best in the world and we can win trophies. And it’s nice for us to now have that opportunity and make it into a final.

[Reporter:]

But does that even get discussed in the dressing room, the fact that you never made a final leading into a semi-final? I mean, you were part of a semi-final just five months ago in a different format. Do you even talk about it or is it now that you’ve got there, you will talk about it?

[Aiden Markram:]

No, we haven’t spoken about it, to be honest. I think it’s a personal and individual motivation that you get to a final; to earn the opportunity to hopefully lift the trophy but we all understand this game and how it works and things can go for you, things can go against you, and you take that in your stride so you reflect back to five months ago we couldn’t get over the line in that semi-final and you look at tonight, a few things went our way. We managed to win the game and we found ourselves in the final.

It’s a really good feeling, it’s a pleasing feeling but more importantly the group of guys there in the changing room, I’m extremely happy for all of them.

[Reporter:]

I know it was a long time ago you spoke about reflection – you have been a captain in a World Cup final ten years ago when you were a boy, I guess you reflect on that at all like you’ve been there actually?

[Aiden Markram:]

If I’m very honest with you, no. It’s a really long time ago and my memory is not great, but you get a little bit of confidence and a little bit of belief knowing you have done it on a certain level before. I don’t think it’s the exact same here at men’s cricket but there are similar pressures that you have to deal with being in a final and we would have experienced that in 2014 so the bit of confidence the bit of belief that we can take from that we’ll try use to the best that we can

[Reporter:]

And just the way you did it today as well you got an opportunity to bowl first on that pitch – what did it make of the pitch and just of? The fact that you were able to be so ruthless that you could just blow them away for 56?

[Aiden Markram:]

Yeah, the bowlers, not just today, but the whole competition, they’ve been really good. Probably saving the batters on certain occasions, but conditions I would say have been in their favour. But even if you say that, they still have to get it done right. And that’s exactly what they’ve been doing for us game in and game out. So, you have to give a lot of appreciation towards them. They’ve been really good for us. Tonight was an exceptional performance by the whole bowling unit and the pitch was obviously quite challenging as we saw and like I said you do still have to get the ball in the right area so you give credit to your bowlers they’ve used the conditions really well and managed to get us into a winning position.

[Reporter:]

So you have never lost a World Cup match as a captain? Under-19, ODI, T20?

[Aiden Markram:]

I have no idea about stuff like that, no.

[Reporter:]

Just coming back to the pitch, of course, pitches don’t win or lose you the matches, you have to still go out and do the job. But if I were to ask you as a neutral observer, would you say this is a good pitch for a T20 game and that to a big semi-final of a World Cup?

[Aiden Markram:]

Yeah, I mean T20 cricket as a whole, you want entertainment. The wickets that we’ve had throughout the competition have been pretty challenging. Tonight’s wicket was pretty challenging once again. It’s hard to tell that a wicket is not good because it can’t just always be a batter’s game, but I think if we reflect back on this wicket, we’ll probably be pretty happy that we’re not playing here again. But having said that, still taking the positives we can. Wickets are tough. Wickets are the same for both teams on the night. So, finding a way to win is probably the most important thing.

[Reporter:]

You’ve been to New York, St. Vincent, now this, and then you’ll go to Barbados, good old Barbados, which has a normal 160-170 pitch. So how do you forget, put this all behind and get ready for a more normal T20 game?

[Aiden Markram:]

I think because we’ve been doing it for most of our careers, you jump from venue to venue where conditions are quite different. So, it’s again just adapting to whatever’s in front of you and playing the pitch and the game that’s in front of you. So, we won’t look too much into it. We’ll try to find ways to always take wickets with the ball and from a batting point of view try to get to a score that’s defendable. So yeah, not looking too much into conditions. Like I’ve mentioned, both teams have to play on the same wicket. And ultimately, if you can develop some plans and come up with some plans on the day that can give you a good chance to win, then hopefully it works out that way.

[Reporter:]

Afghanistan were once known as minnows in world cricket. I know it didn’t go as planned for them tonight But What do you think of their performance in this tournament? Making it to the semi-finals and only played their first T20 match in 2010 and to come so far.

[Aiden Markram:]

Yeah, it’s brilliant. It’s really, really cool to see I don’t think we have to name the players that they have that are the best in the world at the moment. So, they’re really on a good track, going in the right direction. When you get to conditions like these, I don’t think it’s a surprise that Afghanistan makes the semi-finals. I think they’re a really good team. They find ways to win and they’ve got some really good players. So, they’ve been doing the right things now for a long time. Making a semi-final for them is obviously massive. I think they’ve inspired a lot of people back at home. I’ve seen some pictures that inspire us as well to try and make that difference to people back at home. So, yeah, they’ve been going really well and I’m sure it’s not going to be the end of them making knockout cricket.

[Reporter:]

Aidan, you’ve got two world-class spinners, four fast bowlers, an opener who’s in form, middle order which has got the pedigree. Do you feel you’ve got all bases covered for whatever conditions or whatever team is thrown at you for the final?

[Aiden Markram:]

You definitely believe so yes. Like I mentioned cricket’s a funny game where things go right for you, things don’t go right for you, and you take it in your stride. But we’re happy with the squad that we have here. It’s not just the XI playing. It’s a massive squad effort. And you pick your XI based on conditions. That’s all it’s about. So, once we get to Barbados and we see what we think we’re going to come across in terms of the pitch, then we’ll try to pick our best eleven. But we’re really happy as a white-ball group where we are and the options that we do have when it comes to selection.

[Reporter:]

Do you believe in signs that all the close matches that could have gone either way are now falling your way? Do you believe in signs that this is your year?

[Aiden Markram:]

I don’t really look too much into things like that to be honest. It’s a game of cricket like I’ve mentioned and someone has to win and someone has to lose ultimately, that’s the name of the game. So, you take it in your stride, you do get belief though from winning close games and potentially winning games that you thought you weren’t going to win. It does a lot for your changing room and the vibe in the changing room. So, we’ll take a little bit of confidence from that and see if we can put it to any use in the final.

[Reporter:]

Aidan, just on Marco Jansen, he was pretty outstanding today and Whoever you face in the final, you’re going to have two right-handers opening the batting, whether it’s India or England. How important is that for you, to have him with the new ball against those guys?

[Aiden Markram:]

Yeah, once again, it’s Marco’s best skill against the opening batter’s best skill. On the day, whatever happens, happens. But I’m really chuffed for him. He’s still a really young guy, and I think people forget that. He’s done incredibly well. He’s got a lot of heart and passion and loves playing for his country and tends to do pretty well in big games for us and steps up sort of when the moment needs him to. I’m really happy for him that he had a good day out today. And I’m sure it’ll give him a bit of confidence going into the final.

[Reporter:]

Sorry, just finally, Dale Steyn just tweeted about how emotional a moment it is for him. You spoke about it not having sunk in, but there are so many South African cricketers, a few of them here, who couldn’t make it to a World Cup final. Do you sense their emotion? Like, have you had a chat with Dale by any chance over here? Or just what it must mean for them?

[Aiden Markram:]

I haven’t, to be honest, unfortunately. But it speaks a lot about them as people. I feel, I mean, they were guys that are legends of the game, legends of South African cricket. In my eyes, it doesn’t matter if they made a final or not, because they inspired all of us to play cricket for South Africa. And because of them, we’re trying to represent those people that have played before us really well so we’re glad we’ve made them proud to an extent I still feel we’ve got one more step left but for the time being I’m glad that guys like Dale Steyn is incredibly happy.

[Reporter:]

The way that you guys played tonight, was there any sense of relief 48 hours ago when you realized that Australia wasn’t going to come through to the semi-finals or are you confident that you’re going to bring the game you did today no matter what?

[Aiden Markram:]

Yeah, you can’t look too much into the opposition, I don’t feel. I mean, Afghanistan in conditions in the Caribbean are as good as anyone in the world. So, it didn’t really matter too much for us, to be honest with you. Australia’s a world-class team, as we’ve seen. But Afghanistan have made a semi-final for a reason, because they’re also world-class. So those things, there’s no point really wasting your emotional energy on it – whoever you come across you try – give your best on the day and sort of see where it gets you.

Photo by Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC via Getty Images

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