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Controversies are a distant memory; we are family, says SA all-rounder Pretorius

South Africa has overcome the issue over Quinton de Kock’s comments on ‘Black Lives Matter,’ which threatened to derail the team. However, the players’ reaction to de Kock’s withdrawal minutes before the match against the West Indies due to ‘personal issues’ has offered hope that the team has moved on from the incident.

SNS | New Delhi |

Dwaine Pretorius, a South African all-rounder, is amazed that his side has survived all of the controversies in this year’s ICC T20 World Cup and is a strong contender for a last-four position in the showpiece tournament.

As the Proteas prepare to face Bangladesh, a team that is now ranked last in the ‘Super 12s,’ Pretorius stated, “What amazes me is how well this group has stayed together. It makes no difference whether the dispute has erupted… It’s been a few months since this group of, say, 20 players got together. So, corny as it may be, the boys are truly establishing a family. And this is certainly one of the most significant benefits we have in terms of COVID and bubble life.”

South Africa has overcome the issue over Quinton de Kock’s comments on ‘Black Lives Matter,’ which threatened to derail the team. However, the players’ reaction to de Kock’s withdrawal minutes before the match against the West Indies due to ‘personal issues’ has offered hope that the team has moved on from the incident.

Pretorius stated that the incident had made the team realise “how much it really means to each other to be playing for your country.”

With de Kock back in the fold, the Proteas can seek to keep their top-two spot in Group 1 if they beat Bangladesh on Tuesday.

South Africa recovered from an opening-game loss to Australia to post hard-fought wins against West Indies and Sri Lanka. With just one more game to play after this one, a win is essential for them to stay in touch with a top-two spot.

Pretorius will be key to their hopes of making the grade, with the South African all-rounder having a very specific role in the team. Coming into the bowl in the second half of the innings, he has been successful in cleaning up the middle and lower order. His variations of pace, and tendency to bowl full and wide on surfaces that keep low make him effective. Against both West Indies and Sri Lanka, he finished with an identical 3/17.

Bangladesh, on the other hand, is aiming for their first points in the group after losing close games to Sri Lanka and the West Indies, as well as being dismissed by England.

Bangladesh’s campaign has hit snags on a number of fronts. They haven’t been able to get on base in the powerplay, the large ground sizes haven’t helped them clear the boundaries as much as they would want, and their catching has been a disappointment.

To make matters worse, they’ve lost Shakib Al Hasan, the ICC T20I Rankings’ No. 1 all-rounder, to injury.

They will be keen to make a statement before bowing out, despite the fact that they are nearly out of the running for a place in the semifinals.

“Obviously morale has been low after those particular losses knowing that our chance in the World Cup is probably over,” said Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo. “But we’ll be ready to play. Mentally the guys will be up for it and know it’s an important phase of the competition. Still, two games to go. And guys are really determined to put in a good performance.”

SA Possible XI: Temba Bavuma (capt), Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markam, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi.

Bangladesh Possible XI: Mohammad Naim, Liton Das (wk), Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah (capt), Afif Hossain, Soumya Sarkar, Mahedi Hasan, Shoriful Islam, Shamim Hossain/Nasum Ahmed, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman.

(With IANS inputs)