Abu Dhabi – "You're a good soldier. Choosing your battles. Pick yourself up and dust yourself off. And back in the saddle. You're on the front line. Everyone's watching. You know it's serious, we are getting closer. This isn't over. The pressure's on, you feel it. But you got it all, believe it. When you fall, get up, oh oh. And if you fall, get up, eh eh. Tsamina mina zangalewa. 'Cause this is Africa. Tsamina mina, eh eh. Waka waka, eh eh. Tsamina mina zangalewa. This time for Africa!"
That's the catchy tune that had everyone dancing in the streets during the 2010 Fifa World Cup back home. And it once again had every South African at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on their feet as the Proteas set up a virtual quarter-final with red-hot England on Saturday in Dubai through a comprehensive seven-wicket thrashing of Bangladesh on Tuesday.
The Proteas would do well to adopt the Columbian superstar Shakira's hit song for every word resembles this group of players. They have circumnavigated plenty of potential volcanoes enroute to this World Cup – and even those that have erupted here in the UAE – but somehow have managed a way to stand up and go again. Equally, they are fully aware that they are firmly in the spotlight back home.
However, as yesterday's bowling hero Kagiso Rabada, bluntly put it there is nobody that craves success more than the players themselves.
"I think we put ourselves under more pressure than the actual public because we are the cricketers, we are the ones who want to do well. We want to do well for ourselves more than anyone else wants us to do well. So we put more pressure on ourselves," Rabada said.
The fast bowler was in imperious form on Tuesday after a couple of luke-warm displays thus far. Bouyed by his performance with the bat last Saturday against Sri Lanka, Rabada steamed in from the outset and and tore off the head of the Bangladeshi batting line-up.
The Tigers, who were already missing star all-rounder Shakib-al-Hasan due to injury, simply had no answer for the fearsome Rabada.
Mohammad Naim was the first to depart when he top-edged an attempted pull shot to mid-on before Rabada rifled in a toe-crunching yorker first ball to Soumya Sarkar. Although the umpire initially offered Sarkar a reprieve, there was no hiding from the technology after South Africa successfully reviewed the decision.
Although he was denied the hat-trick, Rabada (3/20) was not finished just yet though as he found the outside edge of Mushfiqur Rahim's bat. Excellent captaincy from Temba Bavuma also helped in the dismissal with skipper setting an unfamiliar field in T20 cricket with the placement of a gully.
"There was a bit of bounce, a bit of seam movement and some swing. I guess the conditions were in my favour. All I had to do was get the ball in the right area," Rabada said.
Having already been eliminated from this T20 World Cup, Bangladesh had no fight left within them after Rabada's opening burst. And almost like a shark smelling blood in the water, Rabada's partner-in-crime Anrich Nortje (3/8) feasted on the middle and lower order along with Tabraiz Shamsi (2/21) as Bangladesh were routed for just 84.
"Anrich is bowling pretty rapid at the moment. Guys are coming with questions that make you really think. We knew we had got to a good start. You could sort of sense it in us as a team. It was crucial for us not to take the foot off the pedal, and every bowler that came on made sure they stuck to the gameplan," Rabada said.
Despite a shaky start that saw Bangladesh pick up three wickets – Reeza Hendricks, Quinton de Kock and Aiden Markram – within the Powerplay, there were no further issues as captain Bavuma comfortably took the Proteas home with a classy 31 not out that not only sealed the victory, but ensured South Africa's net run-rate received a significant boost which could prove crucial come Saturday evening.