The Proteas posted a formidable total of 382/5, with notable contributions from Heinrich Klaasen (90 off 49 balls) and Markram himself (60 off 69 balls) in the recent match.
Markram commended de Kock’s unique approach to the game, describing him as a “free-spirited guy” who also possesses an astute cricketing intelligence. De Kock, who had previously announced his retirement from ODIs after the World Cup, has now become the leading run-scorer in the tournament, surpassing Virat Kohli with a total of 407 runs.Markram expressed his trust in de Kock’s instinctive approach to the game, saying, “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.”
Furthermore, Markram emphasised de Kock’s ability to assess match conditions effectively, both on and off the field. He stated, “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.”
Speaking on the team’s overall success, Markram highlighted the importance of making good decisions on the field. “I know that word (process) is thrown around quite a bit, but that really is what it is. And like I have mentioned, for us as a batting unit, even as a bowling unit, we try to take really good options out there and make good decisions,” he remarked.
Markram emphasised the team’s focus on taking the right decisions, considering the prevailing conditions, as the key to their current achievements. Despite a surprising loss to the Netherlands when batting second, South Africa’s performance in the World Cup has been commendable, potentially putting them on par with strong teams like India and New Zealand.
SA vs BAN, ICC World Cup 2023: Brutal South Africa beat Bangladesh by 149 runs
Markram, who stood in as skipper for the second consecutive match in place of Temba Bavuma, acknowledged the importance of playing good cricket and taking it one game at a time. He stated, “Peaking is, suppose, a result of playing good cricket. And if we are going into each game trying to play good cricket, then we can see where it gets us.”
While South Africa appear well-placed to secure a spot in the top four teams that will qualify for the semifinals, Markram remained cautious about looking too far ahead. He stressed that it’s important not to speculate or engage in mathematical calculations at this stage, with four games still to be played in the tournament.
Markram attributed the team’s successful approach to an evolving understanding among the players rather than a predefined blueprint or strategy. He explained, “It goes without saying that you obviously do need wickets in hand but we have not spoken about a blueprint as a unit. There is not necessarily a blueprint, but guys understand how to approach it.”
Despite his record-breaking century in the game against Sri Lanka, Markram admitted that he is still in the process of understanding the nuances of the ODI format, with its extended timeframe compared to T20 cricket. He stated, “In 50-over cricket there obviously is a lot more time than what I initially maybe thought… I had to experience that first hand to be able to sort of learn about it, but yeah, still trying to figure it out now, to be honest.”
(With inputs from PTI)