Image Source : GETTY Aiden Markram has set history in his eyes.

South Africa are in the final of a men’s World Cup. Yes, you read it right. The team that has played seven semifinals (across ODI and T20 World Cups) before the one in the T20 World Cup 2024, had never managed to cross this stage in a World Cup. But this time, they have done it. The jinx is broken, finally. 

Standing at the helm of this Un-South African campaign is none other than their skipper Aiden Markram, who has created a piece of history already and is now one step away from capturing the South African dream.  

The dream, that his predecessors have chased only to fall short at the time when they should have stood tall, is now the closest any South African men’s team has ever reached. Captain Markram has done extremely well with decision-making, even though he has remained understated. 

The way he led his troops in the must-win clash against West Indies, showed his brilliant thinking. He used 12 overs of spin, including himself in the must-win clash against West Indies. Would you dare to bring a bowler like Kagiso Rabada for his first over in the 18th over? No, but Markram did that the other day against West Indies when his team needed nothing less than a win to secure a place in the semis at the expense of the co-hosts. 

Then in the semifinal against Afghanistan, they displayed brilliance with the ball, coupled with help from the exceedingly tricky surface to demolish the Afghan dream and keep theirs alive.

Markram is not new to finals. Even though this is Proteas’ first at the senior men’s level, the Centurion-born has led South Africa to U19 glory in 2014. He has captured the SA20 on both attempts of the fledgling tournament. He is the only skipper in the world currently to win all the matches of the U19 World Cup, ODI World Cup and T20 World Cup that he has led in. 

Markram was at the helm of South Africa’s only U19 World Cup win in 2014, the year when the senior Proteas reached in the T20 World Cup semifinal last before in 2024. He led the team unbeaten to the glory with six wins, he has led the Proteas in two ODI World Cup games and has come out on top on both occasions. In the ongoing T20 World Cup, the Proteas have won eight matches in a row and have equalled the record for most consecutive wins in the history of the tournament, alongside Australia.

These stats go into bed when you take the field and Markram would know it. The understated skipper now stands one step away from fulfilling the South African dream that has always been a dream.