T20 World Cup final a hunger game for Proteas: Markram

<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:South Africa;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">South Africa</a> captain Aiden Markram says his team are driven for success in Saturday's T20 World Cup final against India. (ROBERT CIANFLONE)

South Africa captain Aiden Markram says his team are driven by an "extreme hunger" to win as they search for their first T20 World Cup title against India on Saturday.

Until Wednesday's victory over Afghanistan, the Proteas had suffered seven defeats in World Cup semi-finals, in both T20 and 50-over formats, and will be playing in the title game for the first time.

Markram says that far from being consumed by past shortcomings, his team has shown throughout the tournament, where they have been unbeaten, a powerful desire.

"There's a really strong will to win, I don't think it's on the level of desperation though but it's an extreme hunger to win games of cricket," he told a press conference on Friday.

His team may not be conditioned by the defeats of the past but, says Markram, they are certainly motivated by them.

"We haven't achieved ideally on the world stage what we would have liked to and I think that gets the juices going a bit for the boys to finally achieve it and try to achieve it at least," he said.

As well as some convincing wins, South Africa have edged victories in close encounters with Bangladesh, Nepal and England and those performances, says Markram showed his team's mental strength.

"I think you've seen it in the close results, we've probably not played some of our best cricket in certain games but that ultimately sort of drives you to go out and get the job done," he said.

"That's probably one thing that's really stood out for me in this group, you win those close games and take a lot of belief moving forward that sort of from any position you feel like you can still win the game," he said.

It has been a real team effort from South Africa with Quinton de Kock their top scorer with 204 runs at an average of 25.50 and David Miller adding 148 at 29.60.

The wickets have also been spread around with Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi all having double figures wicket tallies.

That hunger of the collective remains, says the Proteas skipper, despite the joy of ending the run of seven semi-final losses.

"We were obviously a happy bunch the other night after qualifying for the final but it's amazing, I'm sure all teams do it, but straight after that game in the changing room, you still reflect and you say, guys we've still got one more step to go," he said.

"It's not driven by coach or by captain, the whole unit sort of feels that and is driven by that. As a general rule, sportsmen are highly competitive people and nobody would want to lose in a situation of a final so I think there's no sense that the guys are satisfied regardless of the result. I think there's still a massive hunger for us to go out and win Saturday's game," he added.