T20 World Cup 2021: Bavuma admits De Kock controversy was at the back of his mind ahead of Sri Lanka game

Quinton de Kock | Getty

South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma on Saturday (October 30) admitted that the controversy surrounding Quinton de Kock’s refusal to take the knee was at the back of his mind ahead of their match against Sri Lanka.

Bavuma, however, was a relieved captain as the Proteas defeated Sri Lanka by four wickets in a low-scoring thriller at Sharjah.

David Miller smashed two sixes in the last over to guide South Africa to win with a ball to spare while chasing the total of 142.

“It’s quite hard to put everything that’s happened over the last couple of days. There was a bit of it at the back of the mind but we had a job to do and we had to dig deep. I was a bit tense,” Bavuma said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

De Kock took the knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement opposing racism ahead of the match against Sri Lanka. The wicketkeeper-batter had withdrawn from South Africa’s last match against the West Indies in Dubai after refusing to take the knee.

Commenting on the win, Bavuma said he had confidence in Miller to deliver the goods for his team.

“He (David) hadn’t done in a long time for us, credit to him. He’s got one of the most beautiful swings, like a golf swing.

“I took on the responsibility to finish it off and the wicket wasn’t an easy one but someone had to take it till the end. The shot was on and I was a bit irritated with myself that I wasn’t able to execute,” said Bavuma.

The South African captain also praised left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, who returned with impressive figures of 3/17 in four overs and earned the Player-of-the-Match award.

“Shamsi is a big player for us, a weapon, we’ve seen wrist-spinners are always effective in this format.”

South Africa will take on Bangladesh in their next match in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday (November 2).