Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie is relishing the chance to take on South Africa as preparations step up for October's T20 World Cup.

The two-match South Africa series takes place at the Seat Unique Stadium in Bristol on 3 and 5 August, before a five-match T20 series against Afghanistan.

In February, Ireland booked their place at October's World Cup in Australia with a 56-run defeat of Oman in the semi-finals of the 'A' Qualifier. It will be their seventh consecutive appearance at the tournament.

Last month Ireland fell to a 3-0 series whitewash against New Zealand and Balbirnie says they have to take harsh lessons on board against quality opposition of they're to continue making progress.

"We've learned that we have to be on it for longer periods of the game, certainly against better opposition," he told RTÉ Sport.

"There's no respite, particularly in the power-play overs. We're going to do our homework on South Africa.

"We got a good look at them last year (when South Africa came to Ireland for a three-match series) and we've seen them the last couple of games against England. There's no doubt we're going to have to be on it if we want to get a result.

"Bristol is a lovely place to play cricket. It's all building nicely to the World Cup. I think once we get out there to Australia we'll have been fully prepped and really excited to get going but we have a lot of cricket to play at home before we head out."

Blending in fresher faces while also finetuning a squad for the trip Down Under is a tricky job with Balbirnie stressing the desire to achieve better consistency.

"It's a fine balance between looking at (newer) guys but also trying to get guys into form before we go out to World Cup," he added.

"We want to make sure we have a good core of players going out there at the time. It's all systems go for the World Cup in October.

"South Africa beat England, they're obviously a quality team. They beat us 3-0 last year when they were here but hopefully we can put in two good performances. That's our main message: be proud of the performances we put in and whatever the result is after that we can be happy with.

"It's the first time I've been in an Irish squad where results against these teams are expected. We've come really close in 50-over cricket, we know we're doing good stuff there, but we're still looking for that consistency in T20."

Meanwhile South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has been ruled out of two Internationals this week and is also a doubt for the three-match test series against England as he works his way back from a medial ligament injury in his ankle.

Rabada is a key strike bowler for South Africa in the longer format and his absence would be a huge blow to the tourists' hopes of success in the England series, which starts at Lord’s on Aug. 17.

Cricket South Africa said on Tuesday the 27-year-old would be closely monitored ahead of the test series but offered no time frame on a potential return to action.

Additional reporting: Reuters