Cricket-Struggling Bavuma backs himself to flourish for South Africa at World Cup

(Reuters) – South Africa’s Temba Bavuma has not been among the runs at the World Cup but the skipper was confident he would be back in form for the high-flying Proteas as they prepare to take on hosts and table toppers India on Sunday.

While fellow opener Quinton de Kock tops the batting charts with 545 runs in seven games, including four centuries, Bavuma has managed only 111 runs in five matches despite some decent starts.

“You always want to be making contributions. The other batters are smashing it at the moment. I take comfort in the fact that I’ve been involved in some partnerships with Quinton up front,” Bavuma told reporters on Saturday.

“Obviously, you want to extend it. I guess from my side, maybe it’s just one of those patches again where you’re kind of scratching, but I think you’ve got to keep that belief that the opportunity will be there for me to make a big play.

“I think that’s where my head is at, but I take a lot of comfort in the fact that we’ve been getting starts in the first 10 overs and with the guys being in form they’ve been able to exploit that and play the way that they’ve played.”

Bavuma said he has taken confidence from his fellow batters backing him for a big score down the line as they near the business end of the tournament.

“That’s something that I feel every day within the team and I think it’s due to the fact that there’s a group of batters who have been with each other for the last three or four years,” he added.

“We’ve seen each other go through the little ups and the downs and we know that all of us mentally have what it takes to get over the little challenges that we face.”

Sunday’s match at Eden Gardens is between the top two sides at the World Cup. India have already qualified for the semi-finals after winning all seven of their matches to date while victory for South Africa will guarantee a top-four spot.

South Africa have averaged 375 runs when batting first but Bavuma said they were mindful of the fact that they may not be able to score as freely on the Kolkata pitch and they would have to assess the conditions.

“We might have to graft a lot more. You might have to hit a lot more balls on the ground,” he said.

“But all of that will happen tomorrow. We won’t go in today with too many preconceived ideas.”

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Pritha Sarkar)