South Africa captain Temba Bavuma said he expected his team to come under intense pressure from their fans and the media when they start their T20 World Cup campaign against Australia on Saturday.
The South Africans have never won the tournament and they could not have asked for a tougher start than against the 2010 runners-up in a match to be played in Abu Dhabi — and Bavuma admitted his side had “some butterflies".
Bavuma appealed for support from home, saying expectations were high.
“We understand that our fans, our media, are quite unforgiving," he told reporters in a press conference on Friday.
“There is a high demand for excellence at all times. In saying that there are certain things we can control.
“As a team we have come under heavy attack from the media over the last couple of years.
“We will keep as we have been doing, stay together as a team, as a family."
Bavuma said his side were aware of the need to get off to quick start in the unforgiving quickfire format.
“Matches against Australia have always been full of fire and we don’t expect it to be any different tomorrow," Bavuma said.
“I think the way the tournament is set up, you don’t have time to be behind the eightball.
“We know what type of team they are so it is important for us that we bring our A game."
He said that with Australia loading their top order with high-scoring players like skipper Aaron Finch, David Warner and Steve Smith, it was essential they were quickly put under pressure.
“We are aiming to strike them at the top… to put them under pressure. I think it will be a good encounter."