South Africa's Heinrich Klaasen plays a shot
South Africa's Heinrich Klaasen plays a shot during the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup match against Bangladesh at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on October 24, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

Mumbai: South Africa flew into the Cricket World Cup a little under the radar but the awesome range of their power hitting has seen the side post the top three scores in the tournament, which stand-in captain Aiden Markram puts down to their adaptability.

South Africa amassed 428 against Sri Lanka, 399 versus England and 382 in Tuesday's 149-run over Bangladesh that leaves the side second in the table at the midway point.

"I think it goes without saying you obviously do need wickets in hand but we haven't spoken about a blueprint as a (batting) unit," Markram told reporters.

"No definitive roles given, but everyone kind of knows what they need to do to help this batting unit peak at their best.

"We keep saying to look down at the surface and not up at the scoreboard and play exactly what's in front of us on the pitch." Opener Quinton de Kock, who will retire from One-Day Internationals at the end of the tournament, has smashed three centuries in five games and leads the run-scorers list with 407 at an average of 81.40.

"We all know Quinton to be a free-spirited guy, but he actually has a fantastic cricket brain. He assesses conditions really well and communicates that to us off the field even before we've walked out to bat," Markram said.

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South Africa have batted first in four of their five matches and won them all. On the one occasion they had to chase, it went horribly wrong in a shock 38-run loss to the Netherlands.

They have lost four of their previous six games in which they were set a target, compared with winning the last seven in a row when they have batted first.

"I think it's quite easy to get that mantra of 'they're a bat-first team'," Markram says.

"But we're a team that is happy to chase. Whether or not we are going to just decide to chase because we haven't in a while, I'm not too sure." A negative in the campaign so far has been their inability to close out an innings quickly with the ball, allowing opponents to score too many runs with their last few wickets.

"Naturally it's frustrating," Markram says. "But (when) the game comes to an end, you sit back and realise the good value that was out there in what happened for us."