T20 World Cup: South Africa skipper Aiden Markram lauds Sri Lanka match hero Anrich Nortje, says he is ‘massively loved in changeroom’ | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: South Africa began their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup campaign with a resounding six-wicket victory over Sri Lanka on Monday. The triumph was largely attributed to a dominant bowling display, spearheaded by Anrich Nortje‘s career-best figures in T20 Internationals.
Nortje, who endured a challenging Indian Premier League season, silenced any doubts about his form with a devastating spell of 4-12, the most economical four-wicket haul in Men’s T20 World Cup history.His performance proved instrumental in dismantling the Sri Lankan batting lineup, restricting them to a paltry 77 runs, their lowest-ever total in the tournament’s history.

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Sri Lanka, opting to bat first after winning the toss, found themselves immediately on the back foot against a disciplined South African bowling attack. Nortje’s raw pace and accuracy proved too hot to handle, while Kagiso Rabada (2-12) and Keshav Maharaj (2-16) provided valuable support. Kusal Mendis (19) was the only Sri Lankan batsman to offer any significant resistance, as wickets tumbled at regular intervals.
Chasing a modest target, South Africa encountered some early jitters on a challenging surface. Despite losing four wickets, including captain Aiden Markram (7), they never looked in serious danger of relinquishing control. Quinton de Kock (20) and Heinrich Klaasen (19*) played crucial knocks, guiding their team home with 22 balls to spare.

South African captain Aiden Markram praised Nortje’s performance in the post-match presentation, highlighting the team’s unwavering faith in the fast bowler’s abilities. “We were not worried about him, but it was a fantastic day for him, especially from a mental confidence point of view,” Markram stated. “He is massively loved in the changeroom, and the boys are incredibly happy and proud of him. Hopefully, this kicks off a great World Cup for him.”
Markram acknowledged the challenging batting conditions but emphasized the importance of adapting to different surfaces throughout the tournament. “It was a tough one from a batting point of view,” he admitted. “We try as much as we can to take the pitch out of it. We can take some learnings from it, and we are experienced. Lots of different conditions as we move around, fortunately, we have our next two here, so we know what’s coming, but it’s important to adapt as we go ahead.”
South Africa’s next match is against Australia on October 20th at the same venue. They will be looking to build on their impressive start and solidify their position as one of the tournament favourites.
(Inputs from ANI)


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