Exclusive: Proteas Captain Aiden Markram’s Tactical Genuis Has Guided South Africa to T20 World Cup Semi-Finals, says Temba Bavuma

South Africa's Temba Bavuma praises Aiden Markram's captaincy, leading the unbeaten Proteas to the T20 World Cup semi-finals against Afghanistan.

Ken Borland
Ken Borland

Last Updated: 2024-06-25

Louis Hobbs

6 minutes read

Temba Bavuma

South Africa’s Test and ODI captain Temba Bavuma is full of praise for the captaincy of his colleague Aiden Markram, which has seen the Proteas go into the semi-finals at the T20 World Cup in the West Indies.

The South Africans are the only side to have won all seven of their matches on their way to the last four, but their progress has been as thrilling as one would expect from a side whose World Cup history is infamously littered with dramatic and emotional exits.

The Proteas will play Afghanistan at Tarouba in southern Trinidad in their semi-final on Wednesday night, while India, who are also unbeaten but had one match washed out, take on England at Providence in Guyana on Thursday.

Markram’s Collaborative Leadership

“His captaincy style really brings the team together and has given them a lot of belief. It’s collaborative leadership and you can see the team has that belief and they are really playing for each other.”

“I think tactically Aiden has also been very good, using all that spin against the West Indies was really crucial. He’s getting the best out of the players, and you can see how much it means for them.”

“KG Rabada has his big celebrations back every time he takes a wicket; it’s not that he hasn’t been celebrating, but now you can really see how much it means to him every time he gets a wicket,” Bavuma said.

South Africa pulled off a nervy, rain-affected chase against the West Indies to reach the semifinals, winning with seven wickets down and five balls to spare at North Sound earlier this week, and Bavuma said the sense of calm that Markram brings to the field was evident.

Image Credit: Cricadium

Image Credit: Cricadium

Unbeaten Streak and Thrilling Progress

Only two of South Africa’s seven wins have been in any way comfortable, and Bavuma said Markram’s captaincy has been a key factor in building a unit that has the belief to win in pressure situations over and over.

“Aiden may not have scored the number of runs he would have liked, but his leadership has been phenomenal,” Bavuma told

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Strategically I think he has been very strong – defending low scores so often means he has to be good tactically to win because he does not have a lot of margins for error.

Rob Walter

Coach’s Appraisal: Calm Under Pressure

It is a trait Proteas coach Rob Walter also highlighted when asked him to appraise Markram’s captaincy thus far.

“Aiden is a very understated leader, but the team listens when he speaks, he is massively respected in the changeroom,” Walter said.

“Aiden has a real competitive edge, and he is 100% engaged in everything he does, but he is also very calm and level-headed, which creates the right environment for the players to produce their best performances. He’s running the show and making the right decisions – I don’t think KG has ever bowled his first over in the 18th over before, but that sums up the flexibility. It was also great to see Aiden bowl all four of his overs against the West Indies, he backed himself.”

“He has been able to sum up very quickly how to best utilise the resources he has in the conditions we’ve been playing in, and that feel is a real skill of the game. We’ve had to play the tricky conditions in front of us and Aiden is always trying to take the game on. It’s created some seriously good games of cricket,” Walter said.

Personal Highlights and Challenges

Apart from a gorgeous 46 off 32 balls against the USA, Markram has struggled to make much of an impact with the bat, but he did take a brilliant running catch over his shoulder in the seven-run win over England to dismiss the flying Harry Brook in the final over.

“I'm grateful it stuck! Your mind races as a captain and you find yourself drifting in the field - but I was happy to hold on to it. It certainly made a difference,” Markram said afterwards.

Allowing things to drift has certainly not been the captaincy style of Markram, however; the 29-year-old has had his hand firmly on the tiller as he stands poised to steer the Proteas through uncharted waters, South Africa having never played in a World Cup final before.

Ken Borland
Ken BorlandSports Writer

Ken Borland is a freelance sports journalist and commentator based in Johannesburg, South Africa. His specialities are cricket, rugby, golf and hockey (he’s the winner of an SA Hockey Association Merit Award), but he has occasionally ventured further afield from these main sports!

Although sport is his job and something he loves, he is also passionate about the outdoors, wildlife and birding; conchology; music and collecting charts; movies; and his faith.