Maharaj: South Africa have found a way to win 'small moments' at the T20 World Cup

It is helping them "build character" within the team, the experienced spinner said

Keshav Maharaj celebrates after getting rid of Jonny Bairstow, England vs South Africa, T20 World Cup 2024, Super Eight, St Lucia, June 21, 2024

Keshav Maharaj finished with 2 for 25 against England  •  ICC/Getty Images

What have South Africa done differently at the T20 World Cup 2024 to remain unbeaten so far? Experienced left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj believes his side have won the "small moments" in crunch games, which they'd not done well in previous World Cups, which is helping them "build character".
"If you look at previous World Cups, the small moments, we haven't really won," he said. "It's good to see that all the games have come really close and we've found a way, so it's building the character within the team. And it prepares us for certain opportunities that we could get and cross over the line in those small moments, [these] are things that we've never done before. So, it's good to see us getting into that."
Four out of six games South Africa have played so far at the T20 World Cup have been close finishes. A last-ball win against Nepal in Kingstown ensured they made a clean sweep of the group stage. While they won comfortably against USA in the first Super Eight game, the match on Friday against England came down to the final over. Maharaj took two wickets in the game, dismissing Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler, to take his wicket tally to eight in the tournament.
Maharaj added that South Africa have tried their best to put the "hurt" from the ODI World Cup 2023 in India, where they were knocked out by Australia in the semi-finals, behind.
"This team believes that we can be really great as a unit," he said. "Obviously, with the last World Cup, bowing out in the semi-finals, it's both the character and there's a lot of hurt. So, we just take it one game at a time and focus on trying to get the results to go our way and not looking at the negatives, just trying to highlight the positives as much as possible."
South Africa will next face West Indies on Sunday evening in North Sound, Antigua. The match will also see a battle of the sides' left-arm spinners: Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi for South Africa versus West Indies' Akeal Hosein and Gudakesh Motie. Hosein and Motie have been West Indies' best bowlers at the tournament so far, the former having picked nine wickets and the latter eight in six matches.
"It's always a battle of the spinners," Maharaj said. "I'm just going about my business. They've bowled exceptionally well in the tournament. I've watched quite a few spells of them, so obviously they're quite a dominant force as well. They [West Indies] have got a very strong batting line-up, but [I will] just try to stick true to my processes and my principles.
"It's more a case of focusing on each and every game, not getting too ahead of ourselves. We've been very focused on our processes and trying to win each and every game and letting the rest take care of itself."