“The players are refreshed and feeling up for the rest of the tournament” – Aiden Markram South Africa
Aiden Markram wants South Africa to take inspiration from Sri Lanka to finish the World Cup on a high.
- South Africa suffered a four-wicket defeat to New Zealand in a final-over thriller last time out
- The Proteas must win against Pakistan at Lord’s to keep their faint semi-final hopes alive
With just one win from six matches so far, South Africa’s chances of reaching the semi-finals at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 are still alive but out of their hands – needing three consecutive victories and plenty of other results to go their way.
In a crunch clash against New Zealand last time out, the Proteas played out a final-over thriller before Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson saw his side over the line with just three balls remaining.
Markram admits that defeat hurt but after Sri Lanka surprisingly beat hosts England by 20 runs on Friday to throw the competition wide open, the 24-year-old has urged his team to utilise a similar fighting spirit when they face Pakistan at Lord’s on Sunday.
“Naturally, after the New Zealand game it was a tough one to swallow because it was an important game for us that we needed to win,” said Markram.
“It was close, went down to the wire and took an incredible Kane Williamson knock to get them over the line. That’s something we can learn from.
“The mood in camp was definitely down but we’ve done our sulking and moping about – now the energy is really good. Our families arrived yesterday, so the players are more refreshed and feeling up for the rest of the tournament.
“It’s really important for us to win our remaining three games and if that gives us an outside chance of qualifying for the semi-finals, then incredible. But the only way to do that is to win three from three.
“England against Sri Lanka was a great game and proves that when a side clicks, any team at this World Cup can beat any other.
“It’s nice to see a good team like Sri Lanka, who have been struggling for form like ourselves, be able to overcome one of favourites. We can take some inspiration from that.”
One of South Africa’s biggest problems at this World Cup has been their batting – with no player yet to score a century, although there have been six 50s.
Markram understands the importance of someone going on to make a big score in each innings and claims the issue has a relatively straightforward fix.
“The start of your innings is really important to get yourself in,” he added. “We’ve seen the magnitude of knocks at this World Cup – players are scoring big hundreds.
“We’re doing the hard work as a batting unit in getting ourselves set, but then we’re not kicking on. “That’s something we’re looking to rectify – as batsmen, we pride ourselves on getting big hundreds because it puts the team in a good position.
“I think a lot of the problems are down to execution. Our thinking and intent have been right but the execution has let us down a bit.
“The positive thing is we’re getting in and doing the tough part up front pretty well but now we need to turn that into scores.”
©Cricket World 2019