Bangladesh Falls Short as South Africa Secures a Narrow Victory in T20 World Cup

South Africa maintained their perfect record at the T20 World Cup 2024 with a nail-biting four-run victory over Bangladesh.

Despite a rocky start, South Africa’s middle order, led by Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller, set a defendable total at Eisenhower Park, New York.

Bangladesh Falls Short as South Africa Secures a Narrow Victory in T20 World Cup
Players from South Africa celebrate their victory over Bangladesh. Getty Images

Bangladesh 109 for 7 (Hridoy 37, Maharaj 3-27, Nortje 2-17, Rabada 2-19) lost to South Africa 113 for 6 (Klaasen 46, Miller 29, Tanzim 3-18, Taskin 2-19) by a margin of four runs.

In order to keep their perfect record of victories at the T20 World Cup 2024, South Africa overcame great fear. In their last match at Eisenhower Park, they decided to bat first in New York. Aiden Markram chose to post a total on a used wicket, and it almost appeared to be an error. South Africa were 23 for 4, but they battled valiantly to protect their 113 after Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller shared a record-breaking 79 runs at the fifth wicket.

Bangladesh had a rough beginning. After ten overs, they were 50 for 4, but they were able to recover thanks to a 44-run partnership between Mahmudullah and Towhid Hridoy for the fifth wicket. They nearly overcame them as well, and they will reflect on one instance that might have prompted a Super Over.

Mahmudullah misplayed a flick off Ottneil Baartman in the 17th over, causing it to strike his front pad and deflect to the boundary for what appeared to be four leg byes. However, he was given out off that ball, meaning that it was dead at impact, and he went back and looked over the call. Mahmudullah was not out, according to ball-tracking, but the four runs did not count because he was given out, per the ICC’s DRS (3.7.1) protocols in the T20I playing conditions.

Ultimately. Bangladesh lost by four wickets. They lost the match as a result of that and their incapacity to take advantage of Keshav Maharaj bowling the last over for the first time in T20Is and giving up three complete tosses.

After Markram had earlier bowled the seamers out, Maharaj was given the last over to bowl. While Bangladesh attempted to cross the boundary but neither Mahmudullah nor Jaker Ali could, he took two wickets in what appeared to be an error of judgement. Bangladesh’s hopes were virtually dashed when Mahmudullah was out on the last ball, from a full delivery, to a perfectly timed running catch by Markram at long on.

With three victories out of three games, South Africa departs the USA and advances to St. Vincent to play their final group encounter against Nepal. They have the best chance of making it to the Super 8s. With the Super 8s still in reach, Bangladesh will also be playing in the West Indies against the Netherlands and Nepal.

Despite all the buzz about how strong their batting lineup is, South Africa’s top three haven’t done well enough this season, even on challenging hitting grounds. In nine trips to the crease, Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, and Markram have combined to score 61 runs at an average of 6.77. Only Uganda and PNG have lower averages among the teams that have participated in at least two games in the tournament.

Hendricks, who has the lowest three-point score of 4, 3, and 0, and whose methods of dismissal seem to indicate a technical deficit, will be the largest worry. Hendricks has been caught in his crease and then played down the wrong line twice in the last two games. Knowing that Ryan Rickelton, another opener, is sitting on the bench and may get a chance in the upcoming game, he will be watching closely.

Also Read: Bumrah Leads India to Victory in A Nail-Biting Thriller Against Pakistan in the T20 World Cup

Tristan Stubbs’ dismissal for a duck in the fifth over made matters worse. In men’s T20Is, South Africa has only lost their opening four wickets five times by the conclusion of the fifth over, and two of those occurrences occurred in this competition. They were fortunate to have Klaasen and Miller available to support them during the middle part of the inning.

Taskin Ahmed, with assistance from Mustafizur Rahman and Rishad Hossain, grabbed control of the final stages after Tanzim Hasan (3 for 18) had set the tone with wickets early on. In the final three overs of South Africa’s innings, the three combined for just 13 runs conceded, and they dismissed both Miller and Klaasen, two dangerous batsmen, in a crucial display of death bowling. Halfway through the eighteenth over, Klaasen was removed from the game as the ball bounced low and onto leg stump after he slogged past the line but was early on his stroke.

Bangladesh Falls Short as South Africa Secures a Narrow Victory in T20 World Cup
Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada were crucial to SA's struggle. Getty Images

Taskin finished with 2 for 19 from his four overs, giving up just three singles in the remaining over.

Using legspinner Rishad in the penultimate over would have been a risk given his three previous overs costing 28 runs, but he removed Miller with a second ball topspinner and Maharaj was unable to remove him. It only cost Rishad four in his last over.

Then came the Fizz, who denied Maharaj the ball for four straight dots before a fifth was ruled out for wide. The inability of the hitters to hit any boundaries in the final three overs infuriated them, as they scored three runs off the final two balls.

Miller received a gift on his 35th birthday as he edged Mahmudullah’s opening delivery. But Litton Das could not move fast enough to take the catch; he was standing up to the stumps. Miller started off with a score of 13, more than doubling it to finish on 29.

However, the gifts didn’t stop there for him. When Maharaj was sent in to bowl the first over following the powerplay, he was positioned at extra cover, and Litton, not satisfied with what he had already given Miller, smacked the ball straight to him. In the seventh over, Bangladesh were 29 for 2, with to Miller’s flawless performance.

After applying pressure throughout that time, Bangladesh had to get 20 runs off the final 18 balls. They would have anticipated difficulty, but maybe not this much. Despite not playing his best at the competition thus far, Kagiso Rabada bowled the eighteenth over. When Hridoy failed to clip a ball to the leg side, he just made a passing impression, but he was rewarded with a wicket right away. Rabada continued to give up just one run in an over of challenging lengths.

Next, Baartman onto the field for the 19th and adhered to a slightly longer length that was unachievable for either Jaker or Mahmudullah. He gave up seven runs. The test came when the last six balls were left in the possession of Maharaj, who had never done this task before. He gave it a wide start. Mahmudullah blasted a low full toss, his second legal ball, hard down the ground, but the sluggish outfield prevented it from reaching the rope. The next one was attempted to be sent over the rope by Jaker, but he was unable to clear long-on. Rishad then accomplished a leg bye.

However, the final two balls were complete tosses that ought to have been thrown over the rope. Nevertheless, Taskin could only hit the last ball to cover after Mahmdullah’s effort found Markram, giving South Africa a nervous victory against choke.

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