Temba Bavuma: People believe this could be the Proteas' year

Temba Bavuma: People believe this could be the Proteas' year

Proteas captain Temba Bavuma is cognisant of the sentiment surrounding the current crop of players' potentially ending South Africa's wait for a Cricket World Cup, but guards against any entitlement of a final.

The skipper addressed the media in India on Wednesday ahead of the all-important semi-final against three-time world champions Australia on Thursday.

While their performances in the group stage, where they ended second behind the hosts by winning seven of their nine matches, have inspired belief this could well be the Proteas' year, Bavuma warned they are in no way owed a final berth.

"The way we've performed as a team, it's obviously created a lot of positive sentiments, but even higher expectations. A lot of people believe this could be the year we see ourselves in the final. As a team, [and] individually we'd like nothing better than that," said Bavuma in Kolkata. 

"But we also respect the game of cricket, we're not coming up against a Mickey Mouse team. They've got a lot of experience and confidence in knockout games. I'd hate to say we deserved to go through because of the way we played our cricket, I don't think that's the way things go. 

"But from our performances and the processes that we've followed to get to this point, we'll continue to learn on that, and we believe that will take care of the results," he continued. 

There have been some concerns over the opening batter's fitness after he struggled in the five-wicket victory over Afghanistan last week, but a decision will only be made at the final moment this evening.

"Physically I feel alright. I'm obviously not 100%, so this day becomes important, in terms of decision about tomorrow. I'm quite confident, but it's not a unilateral decision that will be made. [As for my] state of mind, I'm a bit nervous about the game. It'll be our first semi-final as a team, but the feeling is no different from any game we've encountered in the World Cup." 

Should he be declared fit, Bavuma will become the first black captain to lead the Proteas into a World Cup knockout tie, but the significance thereof is not something on the forefront of his mind.