Quinton de Kock (L) and Temba Bavuma. (Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)
Assistant coach Enoch Nkwe confirmed that the Proteas would continue their Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock opening partnership in the T20s against Ireland starting on Monday.
The pair’s synergy, he said, was key to the team’s ambitions of winning the T20 Cricket World Cup held in the UAE later this year.
The Proteas begin their three-match series against the Irish following their drawn ODI series that South Africa levelled with victory thanks to Janneman Malan’s 177 not-out at Malahide Cricket Club in Dublin.
The Proteas are also coming from a spectacular 3-2 T20 series win in the West Indies, where they beat the defending T20 World Cup champions by 25 runs in the clincher at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada.
Nkwe was asked if they would continue with Bavuma and De Kock to open, after the T20 captain went off without scoring in that fifth T20 series decider against the Windies.
“It is something that we want,” said Nkwe on the eve of the first T20 in Dublin.
“We do understand that there’s good synergy between Quinton and Temba right up the order. Yes, we have been put in certain situations to try certain combinations and see how they would work.
“That’s probably our best opening batting combination, and they’ve proved that in the past in different formats and it has worked wonderfully.
“We want to stabilise our top order as soon as possible, so we will continue that partnership.
“We might also look at one or two combinations and see how they work out. We want the guys to continue playing under pressure and not feel too comfortable in their positions.
“The ultimate goal is to win the World Cup but, in getting there, we need to have the right combinations and the right formula – to score or chase big runs.”
Bavuma had an up and down T20 series in the Caribbean.
He scored handy innings of 22 and 46 in the first games that South Africa won but went cold for the rest of the series, registering 1, 7 and a duck in the remaining three.
De Kock, however, sparked with 72, 60 and 60 in his last three T20s and added a century (120) in the last ODI game against Ireland to his red-hot form.