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We'll give the Netherlands the respect they deserve: Temba Bavuma

Last updated on 16 Oct 2023 | 10:20 AM
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We'll give the Netherlands the respect they deserve: Temba Bavuma

The last time these two sides met at an ICC event was in the T20 World Cup last year, where the Dutch pipped the Proteas

Less than a year ago, South Africa received a shock when the Netherlands toppled them at the T20 World Cup in Australia. However, South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma does not think that the defeat will play on the players' minds ahead of their World Cup fixture on Tuesday (October 17) in Dharamsala. 

"We definitely won't be taking them lightly. There was a T20 World Cup last year, so 50 over World Cup now, different format, different ask in terms of your skills, being able to do your skills for a longer period of time. So, I think that's something that I think we all need to appreciate," Bavuma said ahead of the tie.

"We played them in South Africa, and I think our victories there were emphatic in my view. So, I think in terms of the confidence and belief within the team without us being arrogant or loud about it, I think it's still up there. 

"We still respect the opposition, not just the Netherlands, but any opposition that you come up with against an international level. But we'll be coming up, we'll be coming into the game with the same mindset that we had against Sri Lanka and that we had against Australia."

Having said that, Bavuma believes that the Dutch will leave no stone unturned when it comes to their preparations, but that will not in any way hinder the sort of way his side wants to play. Moreover, with Afghanistan beating England for the first time on Sunday (October 15), the expectations of a similar result around the corner cannot be ruled out.

"We'll give them the respect that they deserve, Netherlands. We know that their side will prepare with proper attention to detail, and they'll cover their bases. So, we've got to make sure that we do the same thing, we make sure that we pitch up, there's no expectation that things are just going to happen our way," he said.

"But most importantly, we just keep backing what we are doing. So, there's no complacency or taking the game for granted. The last time we played in the Netherlands was back home in South Africa in that series. We obviously needed those points to qualify for the World Cup, and I think there, the performances that we showed were critical. So tomorrow, we'll be looking to do more of the same."

The Dharamsala outfield has been a subject of debate, given that the outfield has been deemed unfit by the previous visiting teams. However, Bavuma says that it has gotten better but admits that the side may have to change their diving technique a bit to avoid serious injuries.

"I think the field is a bit patchy. We did have a fielding practice last night, and to be honest, it didn't play as bad as it really looked - but I guess we'll see how it goes within the game," the South Africa skipper said. 

"We have spoken about, you know, trying to be a bit more cautious. Maybe changing your diving technique, I don't know how easy that is to do when you are in the heat of the moment. I guess guys will just have to I guess just pay a bit more attention to that - But yeah, when we fielded yesterday, it wasn't all too bad. But we'll really get to see when we're playing in the game tomorrow."

Bavuma also hopes that his batters continue to fire cylinders and play the brand of cricket they have been for some time now. "I think to go back to what have been said regarding our brand of cricket, us being opportunistic as batters, as bowlers, looking to take the game on. That obviously means that the strike-rates will be a bit higher," he said.

"If you look at our top six, top seven, all of the guys really have been striking at high strike rates. Other guys are obviously exceeding in that department. But I think it's just more a matter of us keeping up the intent, looking for opportunities to put bowlers under pressure and obviously backing our skills and execution. So, coming into the World Cup, nothing is going to be different. We're going to keep going the same way. We're going to keep backing that."

The Proteas have won both their matches in the World Cup so far. They beat Sri Lanka in the first game after posting a World Cup record total, followed by a thrashing of five-time champions Australia. A win over the Dutch will further aid their bid to make the semis. 

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