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Rediff.com  » Cricket » T20 WC: South Africa edge Bangladesh; qualify for Super 8

T20 WC: South Africa edge Bangladesh; qualify for Super 8

Source: PTI
Last updated on: June 11, 2024 00:52 IST
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IMAGE: Keshav Maharaj celebrates winning the T20 World Cup match against Bangladesh on Monday. Photograph: Cricket South Africa/X

Spinner Keshav Maharaj was lucky to defend 11 runs in the final over as South Africa held their nerves to edge Bangladesh by a mere four runs in yet another low-scoring thriller in the T20 World Cup in New York on Monday.

The narrow victory was South Africa's third in a row in the World Cup as they became the first team to qualify for the Super Eight stage.

With Bangladesh unable to chase down 114, South Africa created history as they defended the lowest ever total in the history of the T20 World Cup.

 

In a contest where fortunes swung from one side to another, Bangladesh fought valiantly until the end riding on gritty knocks from Mahmudullah (20)  and Towhid Hridoy (37), but could not land the killer punch in the 20th over.

With six needed off the last two balls, Mahmudullah was caught on the edge on the long-on boundary by South Africa captain Aiden Markram off Keshav Maharaj, who was South Africa's most successful bowler with figures of 3/27.

Mahmudullah smashed the full toss straight down the ground but Markram showed great composure to run to his right and take the catch overhead just inches inside the ropes at long-on to douse Bangladesh's hopes.

Bangladesh's batters failed to punish Maharaj for his mistakes in the final over as they missed out on three full tosses in the final over to finish on 109/7 and lose by a narrow margin of four runs.

Bangladesh looked on course for victory with 31 needed from 30 balls and six wickets but South Africa's bowlers showed great control to concede just a single boundary in the last few overs, forcing the batters to take unnecessary risks.

IMAGE: South Africa created history as they defended the lowest ever total in the history of the T20 World Cup. Photograph: ICC/X

Anrich Nortje (2/17) continued to make the most of his form, while Kagiso Rabada (2/19) and Marco Jansen (0/17) provided strong support.

South Africa had recovered to post 113/6 after opting to bat on what has proved to be a challenging surface at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, in New York.
 
Tanzid Hasan (9) perished early in the run chase after hitting a couple of fours while neither their skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto (14 off 23) nor Litton Das (9 off 13) could convert starts.

Shakib Al Hasan (3) too was beaten by Nortje's pace when the right-armer bowled one short and the Bangladesh all-rounder mishit to lob one high in the sky.

Struggling at 50/4, Bangladesh found an excellent partnership between Towhid Hridoy and Mahmudullah, who put on 44 for the fifth wicket to take their side close to the finish line.

Hridoy, who began with a six, did well to absorb the pressure in the company of Mahmudullah. The pair kept shaving off the target with smart rotation of strike as well as picking up the odd boundary, signalling that the wicket really has rewards for those who were able to alter their approach.
 
Bangladesh seemed to be cruising towards the target until Hridoy's dismissal -- leg-before off Rabada in the 18th over -- changed the complexion of the game.

IMAGE: Bangladesh's players celebrate a wicket during the T20 World Cup match against South Africa in New York on Monday. Photograph: ICC/X

Earlier, pacers Tanzim Hasan Sakib and Taskin Ahmed excelled in favourable conditions to help Bangladesh restrict South Africa to a below-par total.

Tanzim (3/18) ran through the Proteas top order in company of Taskin (2/19) while Mustafizur (0/18) too played his part well as Bangladesh produced a collective show despite strong resistance from Heinrich Klaasen (46) and David Miller (29).

Klaasen and Miller looked to revive South Africa from a shaky start with a 79-run stand for the fifth wicket, but the pair could never really accelerate on a two-paced wicket on which the Bangladesh spinners also displayed control.

Tanzim struck thrice in his opening burst to leave South Africa reeling at 23/4 inside the first five overs.

After Quinton de Kock (18) showed aggressive intent by hitting the pace bowler for a six and a four in the initial exchanges, Tanzim made immediate amends to his line and length and hit Reeza Hendricks in front of the stumps for a golden duck.

IMAGE: Heinrich Klaasen top-scored for South Africa with a quickfire 46 from 44 balls. Photograph: ICC/X

In fact, it was his simple yet effective tactics of bowling at the wickets paid high dividends as Tanzim cleaned up South Africa captain Aiden Markram (4), who missed a straight one with his bat coming down a bit awkwardly.

Tristan Stubbs (0) had done a fine job of rebuilding the innings for South Africa in their last outing against the Netherlands, but the right-hander too had a soft dismissal to endure.

As if the ball stopped on Stubbs -- like it had on a couple of Indian batters a day before at this venue -- he played one meekly to Shakib Al Hasan at cover who put in a dive to collect the ball.

South Africa also had the luck favouring them when Miller, on 13, was given a reprieve by Litton Das behind the wickets on the first ball of Mahmudullah's spell.

To their credit, both Klaasen and Miller assessed the conditions and the pitch perfectly to lead the rescue act for the Proteas.

Klaasen hit a couple of sixes upfront against Bangladesh spinners to push them back while Miller was content in rotating the strike. However, he was cleaned up by Taskin late in the innings after a 44-ball knock, studded with two fours and three sixes.

Klaasen and Miller did find run-scoring difficult on the Nassau County pitch since they were forced to curb their attacking instinct.

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