Dubai: The high-flying South Africa start as favourites against misfiring Bangladesh in the first of the Super-12 double-header in Abu Dhabi on Monday (tomorrow).
The South Africans, after averting a major controversy when Quinton de Kock apologised for not taking the knee before the clash against Sri Lanka at Sharjah on Saturday, are now on a roll and have done some things that not many teams have achieved in this tournament, by chasing down the target.
David Miller and Kagiso Rabada added 34 runs for the seventh wicket to give the Proteas a four-wicket win over the Sri Lankans, who are continuing to surprise themselves and their fans during this rebuilding process.
That win against all odds must have given the South Africans more confidence to continue their march towards booking a spot in the semi-finals in a group billed as the group of death with all the Test-playing nations clubbed together.
Bangladesh, on the other hand, are not a semblance of their former self, where they have fought and won some of the closest battles against higher-ranked opponents.
After a narrow loss to the West Indies, where they lost by three runs, the Tigers must eager to get their batting in order. The cause of all ills is in one place — skipper Mahmudullah. The talented batter needs to go up the order to play a central role in batting, but he is coming way down the order.
This negative mindset is also reflecting on his captaincy. He needs to be more assertive in expressing himself as a batsman and as a captain, which will give the Tigers more bite.
Bangladesh batting needs to be on the money against a varied and potent South African bowling on the Shaikh Zayed Stadium pitch, that will offer them more bounce. After three loses from three games, Bangladesh have only to play for pride, but still this South African team are not willing to take their foot off the pedal.