Uncapped Markram, Nortje and Qeshile get Proteas T20 call

By Sports Desk March 17, 2019

Uncapped trio Aiden Markram, Anrich Nortje and Sinethemba Qeshile have been named in South Africa's squad for the Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka.

In-form opening batsman Markram guided the Proteas to victory over Sri Lanka with an unbeaten 67 at Newlands on Saturday, sealing a 5-0 one-day international whitewash.

Markram could make his debut in the shortest format in Cape Town on Tuesday, while paceman Nortje and 20-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Qeshile have also been called up.

Qeshile will not be involved in the opening match, but is set to make his bow at Centurion on Friday.

JP Duminy, who this week announced he will end his ODI career after the Cricket World Cup, will captain the side for the second and third matches of the series to give Faf du Plessis a rest.

Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi will also only feature in the first rubber of the three-game series.

 

South Africa squad for the first T20: Faf du Plessis (captain), Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Rassie van der Dussen.

 

South Africa squad for second and third T20s: JP Duminy (captain), Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Chris Morris, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Sinethemba Qeshile, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla, Dale Steyn, Rassie van der Dussen.

 

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    A victory against Afghanistan kept the Proteas' top-four and semi-final hopes alive, but there is no room for error now, with South Africa four points adrift of fourth-placed India.

    "It's a big game for us, but in saying that, our next three or four games that we have [are, too]," De Kock told a news conference on Tuesday.

    "They're all going to be big games for us for the rest of the tournament. We're just going to have to go out there, keep our heads steady and play freely.

    "Tomorrow is a quarter-final, I guess you could say. But if we do win it, it's another big game again.

    "Obviously, it is a big game, but there's a lot more that we are focusing on also. We have to win all the games, not just focus on tomorrow.

    "But in saying that, we know how good New Zealand are playing at the moment. They are a big team in World Cups. They always seem to step up. So it's going to be a tough one."

    Of South Africa's mood, he added: "Before our first game that we played against England, we were in a pretty good space also then, mentally and with preparation.

    "Then obviously, during the course of the tournament, after losing all the time, there's always a bit of a slump in being mentally strong. It's a long tournament, it's a tough tournament.

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  • New Zealand v South Africa: World Cup semi-final hopes at stake for Proteas New Zealand v South Africa: World Cup semi-final hopes at stake for Proteas

    South Africa will hope history fails to repeat itself when they bid to keep their Cricket World Cup hopes alive on Wednesday against New Zealand at Edgbaston.

    With just one win from their opening five matches, the Proteas know anything but a victory will all but end their hopes of reaching the semi-finals.

    There is no shortage of recent history between the sides in this competition, with the Black Caps having dramatically reached their first World Cup final four years ago at South Africa's expense courtesy of Grant Elliott's six off the penultimate ball.

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    With seven points already, the Black Caps are well positioned for a top-four finish and a place in the knockout stages, though they do still have to face a number of the tournament's leading lights.

    TOURNAMENT SO FAR

    The pressure is on for South Africa. There is scant margin for error as far as their semi-final hopes are concerned. Defeats to England, Bangladesh and India in their opening three matches followed by the abandonment of their game against West Indies has left them with it all to do. There were at least positive signs in their win over Afghanistan.

    New Zealand, by contrast, have made a hugely promising start, winning their opening three matches against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before seeing their last outing, against India, abandoned due to the inclement weather. 

    WHAT THEY SAID

    South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock: "I think, obviously, it's a big game for us, but in saying that, our next three or four games that we have, they're all going to be big games anyway for us for the rest of the tournament. We're just going to have to go out there, keep our heads steady, and play freely."

    New Zealand bowler Trent Boult on the chance to potentially knock out South Africa: "It's not driving us in any respect. Every World Cup game, in my opinion, is a big stage, and it's a chance for us to go out there and perform and show we can bring the game and the style that we play back home in New Zealand very well to test it against quality players in foreign conditions on a big stage in front of all these fancy cameras. So we can't wait."

    OPTA FACTS

    - This will be the eighth World Cup meeting between New Zealand and South Africa, the Black Caps have won five of the previous seven, including each of the last four.

    - New Zealand have not won an ODI at Edgbaston since 1983, losing three times there with four no results. They do have three World Cup wins at the venue (two in 1983, one in 1975).

    - South Africa spinner Imran Tahir has bowled 222 balls at this World Cup and is yet to be hit for six or bowl a wide or no ball, no other bowler has bowled as many deliveries without being hit for a maximum.

    - New Zealand have won 11 of their last 12 completed World Cup matches, their only defeat in that run was the 2015 final to Australia at the MCG.

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