SHARJAH: South Africa captain Temba Bavuma on Saturday said he endured "tense" moments prior to their T20 World Cup match against Sri Lanka as the controversy surrounding Quinton de Kock's refusal to take the knee was at the back of his mind.
Bavuma, though, also expressed relief that his side notched up its second win in the T20 World Cup here. David Miller's two last-over sixes powered South Africa to a four-wicket victory over Sri Lanka despite a hat-trick by Wanindu Hasaranga in a thrilling Super 12 match.
"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.
A huge controversy had erupted hours before South Africa's game against West Indies on Tuesday after Cricket South Africa (CSA) issued a sudden directive that all the players must take the knee before every match of the ongoing tournament.
Senior batter de Kock did not wish to comply and chose to pull out of the match but returned for Saturday's game against Sri Lanka after agreeing to perform the gesture in support of the 'Black Lives Matter' (BLM) movement.
Talking about 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 who top-scored for South Africa with run-a-ball 46.
Speaking about left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, who shone with figures of 3/17, Bavuma said, "Shamsi is a big player for us, a weapon, we've seen wrist-spinners are always effective in this format." Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka defended his move to bowl Lahiru Kumara in the final over, in which Miller smashed two sixes and one four to seal the win for South Africa.
"It was enough to defend for Lahiru. He was bowling yorkers and he was superb in the practice games which is why I went with him," said a disappointed Shanaka. South Africa needed 15 runs from the last over. Credit to South Africa batsmen, they finished really well," Shanaka said.
"Nissanka has been classic, he showed in this tournament as well. He's got a bright career and is a real prospect for Sri Lanka ahead. It's really hard for us after this game, next two games we hope to keep our pride," he added.