Heartbreak for Nepal as Shamsi Scripts Stunning Turnaround for South Africa in T20 World Cup

South Africa edged out Nepal by one run in a thrilling T20 World Cup 2024 match at Kingstown, eliminating Nepal from Super Eight contention.

In the 20th over, Baartman successfully defended seven runs to give SA an exciting come-from-behind victory.

Heartbreak for Nepal as Shamsi Scripts Stunning Turnaround for South Africa in T20 World Cup
Dipendra Singh Airee came extremely close to Nepal. ICC/Getty Images

Nepal 114 for 7 (Aasif 42, Sah 27, Shamsi 4-19) lost to South Africa 115 for 7 (Hendricks 43, Stubbs 27*, Bhurtel 4-19, Airee 3-21) by one run.

Nepal’s fans in Kingstown were devastated when their team lost to South Africa in a thrilling match by only one run. Both players and fans were in tears as a result of Nepal’s elimination from the T20 World Cup 2024 Super Eight round. With four victories in a row, South Africa swept the group stage thanks to Tabraiz Shamsi’s 4 for 19, which pulled them back with an impressive 18th over.

But the game appeared to be Nepal’s to lose for a very long time. Even on a challenging, shifting surface, their spinners had woven a web to restrict South Africa to a pitiful 115 for 7, and with seven wickets remaining, they were able to reduce the equation to 25 needed off 30 balls with the bat.

However, Shamsi, who replaced Keshav Maharaj, changed the course of the match with a double-wicket 18th over that included Aasif Sheikh’s 42 off 49. The game was reduced to two off two balls by two late runs from Sompal Kami and the eighteen-year-old Gulsan Jha, despite the dots that followed raising the needed rate. However, Nepal was unable to get bat on the ball both times due to Ottneil Baartman’s two dots, and their final try at a last-gasp run came up just short.

Perhaps still shaken from their previous tournament experiences, South Africa started the match a little too cautiously and, as a result, batted conservatively when the circumstances were ideal for batting.

South Africa was guilty of waiting for loose deliveries rather than forcing the bowlers off their lines early on, even if their 38 for 1 in the powerplay was their greatest score of the competition. As for Nepal, they never looked back once the spinners took hold and seldom deviated from their lines and lengths.

The first ball from Sandeep Lamichhane gripped and spun past Reeza Hendricks’ defense at 6.2 degrees, and that set the tone for South Africa, who rarely looked comfortable against the turning ball after that.

In Nepal’s first encounter outside of the United States, Lamichhane’s probing spell yielded just 18 runs in his opening outing of the tournament, even though he would end up wicketless. However, Nepal had enough spin overs to take advantage of the conditions thanks to the bowling of Dipendra Singh Airee (3 for 21) and Kushal Bhurtel (4 for 19), who combined to take all seven South African wickets.

South Africa tried their best to play the circumstances calmly, but they were unable to raise their game despite putting up runs-a-ball stands of 22 and 46 for the first two wickets. Only Tristan Stubbs, who came in at number eight and scored 27 off of 18 balls, had a strike rate greater than 100.

Nepal bowled 14 overs of spin, including the last over of the innings, in total. After giving up just 57 runs in the first 10 overs, Nepal had only given up 58 runs for six wickets at that point until Bhurtel claimed two wickets for nine runs.

An early reprieve came for Nepal when Kagiso Rabada fumbled a catch. Following that, Nepal chose to play risk-free cricket, slogging their way to 32 at the conclusion of the powerplay without dropping a single wicket. 

Also Read: T20 World Cup Winners List from 2007 to 2023

However, because spin is such a crucial component of the game, Shamsi’s introduction was always going to be important, and it was. He unsettled Bhurtel and Rohit Paudel’s stumps in his opening over alone, igniting South Africa’s comeback. Following Shamsi’s subsequent over, Anil Sah and Aasif both attempted to reconstruct. After two boundaries from Anrich Nortje increased their rate and a six from Shamsi gave them a real chance to win, Sah was the first to up the ante.

Sheikh came on in the next over, taking Rabada for six and four before the two connected for fifty off of just 36 deliveries. Because South Africa only had one front-line spinner in the XI, they had to time Shamsi’s comeback exactly so. The Sah-Sheikh stand had been broken by Aiden Markram’s intermittent pauses, but Airee was adamant about sticking with the predetermined Sheikh.

Heartbreak for Nepal as Shamsi Scripts Stunning Turnaround for South Africa in T20 World Cup
South Africa was back in the game thanks to late strikes from Tabraiz Shamsi. ICC/Getty Images

But Shamsi now appears. Quinton de Kock received a feather touch on Airee’s attempted pull after his third delivery of the eighteenth turned down the leg side. The touch was so little that Airee looked back, believing he had not touched anything. Then, with his last delivery, Shamsi got the big fish, ripping one past Aasif’s bat and pad and into the stumps with a clatter. After he finished, Nepal required 16 out of 12.

In the last over, Nortje provided support for Shamsi by bowling four consecutive dots, one of which removed the top of Kushal Malla’s middle stump. Nepal needed to score eighteen points, meaning they needed to score at least one major goal before it was too late.

The penultimate over saw Kami unleash a devastating 105-meter pull that sent the ball flying over the bleachers, cutting the deficit to eight. The Nepali supporters got up and took out their phones to record what could become a historic occasion when the adolescent Jha found a boundary over cover to make it four runs off three balls.

Nepal demonstrated perfect comprehension of the brief with a hard-run two off the next delivery, but two beautifully timed slower bouncers by Baartman off the last two deliveries proved too brilliant to be ignored.

A last-ball bye might have resulted in a Super Over, but Heinrich Klaasen, who was hiding close to the stumps, caught the ball as it deflected off Jha and flipped it to the non-striker’s end. Nepal was out and Jha was short.

Shamsi: ‘We’ve Been Put Under Pressure Every Game and Stood Up to It’

Shamsi says South Africa will have to rely more on spin than pace in the Caribbean leg of the T20 World Cup

South Africa Tests Their Mettle Under Pressure

South Africa’s star spinner, Tabraiz Shamsi, humorously remarked that his team is “testing out all the scores” after their dramatic last-ball victory over Nepal. Despite topping Group D with an unbeaten record, South Africa’s recent wins have been nail-biters, highlighting their resilience under pressure.

Close Encounters and Low Scores

All four of South Africa’s matches in the tournament have been low-scoring affairs. Their campaign started by bowling out Sri Lanka for 77, followed by chasing 104 against the Netherlands after a precarious 12 for 4 start. They then defended 113 against Bangladesh and 115 against Nepal. While the seamer-friendly conditions in New York played a role in the low scores, the game in St. Vincent saw a misjudgment of spin-friendly conditions.

Top Order Struggles

South Africa’s top three batsmen – Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, and Aiden Markram – have collectively scored 129 runs in 12 innings, averaging just 10.75. This performance is only better than the top orders of Uganda, Papua New Guinea, and Ireland. The Nepal match exposed South Africa’s vulnerability to spin, with all seven wickets falling to Dipendra Singh Airee and Khushal Bhurtel.

Heartbreak for Nepal as Shamsi Scripts Stunning Turnaround for South Africa in T20 World Cup
Sompal Kami comforts Gulsan Jha after Nepal came agonizingly close. ICC/Getty Images

Facing the Unknown

Playing against Nepal for the first time, South Africa faced unexpected challenges. The transition from morning games in the USA to a night match in St. Vincent added to their difficulties. Markram acknowledged the pressure from Nepal and the need to adapt quickly to varying conditions.

Shamsi’s Spin Strategy for the Caribbean

Shamsi emphasized the need to rely more on spin in the Caribbean. With three specialist spinners in the squad, including Keshav Maharaj and Bjorn Fortuin, South Africa is prepared for spin-friendly conditions. Shamsi’s standout performance against Nepal, taking 4 for 19, was crucial, and Markram hinted at utilizing more spin options in future matches.

Adapting to the Business End

As the first team to qualify for the Super Eight, South Africa aims to deliver more complete performances. Historically, South Africa has faltered in crucial moments despite strong group stage performances. However, recent close victories show their ability to handle pressure.

Key Performances Under Pressure

South Africa has found different match-winners in each game. David Miller’s 59 against the Netherlands, Keshav Maharaj’s 3 for 27 against Bangladesh, and Shamsi’s 4 for 19 against Nepal have been pivotal. Ottneil Baartman’s consistent performances have added valuable variation to the attack.


Despite top-order issues, South Africa is progressing well. Shamsi highlighted the team’s ability to perform under pressure, saying, “When this team is rolling, everybody knows their roles.” As they move to the crucial stages of the T20 World Cup, their adaptability and mental toughness will be key.

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