South Africa are having a good run in the ICC World Cup here in India, but their mantra to success has been their batting strength and their choice to bat first has added to their credentials.
Their stand -in skipper Aiden Markram told reporters in the post-match interaction after their victory against Bangladesh that he believes that their stupendous batting strength has been the core area for success.
Placed behind the leaders India in the points tally, the Proteas are almost there in the semifinal, but Markram says it is too early, as they have more matches and so do the other teams. "Cricket is funny and anything can happen."
Markram wants SA to keep feet on ground
Despite being placed strongly to finish in top four teams that will qualify for the semifinals, Markram said South Africa – who failed to do so in 2019 – would not want to look too far ahead to top points tally.
"I think that is a pretty dangerous place to be, to be honest. I do not think you want to start trying to do maths this far out. There are still four games of cricket and that is potentially eight points up for grabs," he said.
"That is what we are going to try to push for. I think if you start sitting and hoping for a result from this team and trying to work out 'we maybe only need two wins left' or whatever it is. I do not think that is a great place to be as a unit," he added.
"It goes without saying that you obviously do need wickets in hand but we have not spoken about a blueprint as a unit – it has actually been quite a strange build up the last two months or maybe slightly longer now," Markram said.
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If their defeat to the Netherlands batting second is set aside as a blip in the larger scheme of things, South Africa's campaign so far has perhaps been as impressive as India's or even New Zealand's for that matter – two of the strongest teams whom the Proteas are yet to face.
"Peaking is, suppose, a result of playing good cricket. We don’t look at the scoreboard but the wicket. And if we are going into each game trying to play good cricket, then we can see where it gets us," said Markram who stood in for Temba Bavuma for a second match in a row.
"But the things that we have been doing well, we have put a lot of emphasis on those things and those sort of processes, for lack of a better word," he said.
QDK's red-hot form
He has all praise for the explosive left-hander Quinton de Kock, who is the top run-scorer in this edition with 407 runs at this point ahead of India's Virat Kohli, who has 354 runs.
"We all know Quinton to be the free-spirited guy that he is, but he actually has a fantastic cricket brain on him," Markram told reporters in the post-match interaction.
Markram on Quinny's retirement
De Kock had earlier said he would retire from the ODIs after the World Cup.
"And then you never want to clip his wings, really. You just want to let him fly. He structures it the exact way he feels (the) need, and we back that completely as a unit," Markram added.
Markram further elaborating about the run machine of the South African said, "He assesses conditions really well and communicates that to us off the field even before we have walked out to bat. It adds a lot of value in that regard."