Temba Bavuma has promised a fiery opening to the Super 12s as South Africa and Australia prepare to kick-start Group 1 at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.

The two rivals face off in Abu Dhabi and arrive at the tournament in contrasting form, with South Africa winning their last three series and Australia losing their last five. Australia have enjoyed the upper hand in recent years though, winning six of their last seven T20 matches with the Proteas, and both sides know the importance of a fast start.

With West Indies and England also in Group 1 and only two teams advancing to the semi-finals, it is imperative to start well and Bavuma admits there will be nerves.

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021: Complete schedule for the Super 12 stage

“I must be honest, there is a bit of anxiety amongst the guys, there is a bit of butterflies, and I think that’s something that’s expected,” he said. “In terms of coming up against Australia, there’s no bigger motivation for the guys. Matches or clashes against Australia have always been full of fire, and we don’t expect it to be anything different tomorrow.

“Tomorrow being an opener for us, it’s obviously a big game. We want to start off well. We want to hit the ground off running and start to get that momentum rolling in our favour. But the guys, I believe, are in a good space.

“It’s always good to start off well. You want to throw that first punch in early on and try to ride with that momentum as much as you can. I think the way the tournament is also set up with only five games in the group stages, you don’t really have time to be behind the eight ball.

“We’ll be looking to really hit the ground running. Tomorrow we need to play our best cricket and take it from there.”

Both teams have major weapons at their disposal and Australia captain Aaron Finch is backing batter David Warner to rediscover his best form and once again prove he’s one of the best players in the world.

Warner was dropped by Sunrisers Hyderabad in the second half of the IPL and did not feature in their last eight games of the tournament after a period of poor form.

But he is expected to open the batting alongside Finch in Abu Dhabi, as the Baggy Greens prepare to face South Africa in their first Super 12s game on Saturday and launch their bid to win the one ICC trophy that has so far eluded them.

“I’m backing Dave’s ability. I’m backing his judgment,” he said. “I think, if you look at his World Cup history, he’s just bloody good. Would he have liked more runs? Absolutely. Everyone would like more runs all the time.

“He’s one of the greatest players that Australia has ever produced, and I’ve got no doubts that come Game 1 he’ll be up and firing and ready to go.

“I’m feeling really good. The knee is feeling great. It’s feeling a bit better than what I thought it would at this stage, to be honest. To be able to play those first two warmup games against New Zealand and India was crucial, I think. To get a few in the middle was nice.

“I think everyone’s in a pretty good space to be honest. The way the group’s come together, the feeling around the place has been brilliant. We’re really excited to kick it off tomorrow.”

Finch revealed Australia will select four specialist bowlers against the Proteas and rely on all-rounders such as Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh to bowl in the middle to make up the overs.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence in the depth of our squad. We’ve got a lot of confidence in Maxwell, Stoinis, and Marsh to be able to bowl in four overs as well,” he added.

“We think that on these wickets in these conditions, that they can do a really good job and be an attacking option as much as anything.”

Article courtesy: ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020 via Online Media Zone.