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2024-06-24 11:55:10

South Africa knock host West Indies out to reach semis of T20 World Cup

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South Africa knock host West Indies out to reach semis of T20 World Cup

Now, they've (almost) done it all. After an undefeated streak of six matches, five of them far too close for comfort, South Africa have survived a rain-reduced match and successfully chased a tricky target to book the spot in the semi-final of the men's T20 World Cup 2024. They knocked co-hosts West Indies out in the process and have topped their Super Eight group, which means they are also likely to avoid India in the final four. We'll say it again: is this their time?- Reports: ESPN. 

All the evidence points to a change of fortunes for a team that has so long coveted an ICC trophy and equally long, been denied. South Africa are now winning games they should be losing, scrapping like their rugby counterparts, the Springboks - who won the quarterfinals, semifinals and final, each by one point last year - and finding ways to overcome pressure. There's a new-found tenacity to them and it's seen them get to a T20 World Cup knockout for the first time in a decade.

Incidentally, when they got to the final four in the 2014 tournament, Aiden Markram had just led the Under-19 team to the World Cup. Now, he finds himself captaining the senior side and he is doing differently and to great success. Markram took the new ball in this match, and bowled himself for a full quota of four overs. He decided to rely on a non-traditional strength: spin. South Africa had never bowled this many overs of spin in a T20 World Cup match (and only bowled more twice before against Sri Lanka in 2021) and the change of tack worked a charm. Between them, South Africa's spinners took 5 for 79 in 12 overs.

They were largely responsible for keeping West Indies quiet and for several of the 57 dot balls West Indies faced in their innings - the equivalent of 9.3 overs - and the most at this T20 World Cup. Only an 81-run stand between Kyle Mayers and Roston Chase kept West Indies in the game, and they were the only two batters to get an individual score of more than 15.

And once the tears have dried, West Indies will look to their batting as the major reason they were unable to advance. Their bowlers worked with what they had and had South Africa 15 for 2 in two overs, before the rain came down. They kept at and removed all the recognized batters. Chase's 3 for 12 and Joseph's 2 for 25 meant South Africa were always on tenterhooks but at seven down, Kagiso Rabada and Marco Jansen took it home.

Markram gets funky but fielding gets messy

An eventful first 10 overs saw South Africa drop four catches and Aiden Markram became just the second South Africa spinner to bowl four successive overs after opening the bowling in a men's T20I, and that was with two specialist spinners in the XI. Markram shared the new ball with Jansen, and got a wicket with his first ball, as South Africa won the early exchanges with West Indies 5 for 2 early on.

They should have had a third in Jansen's next over, when Chase, on 12, swiped across the line and hit it straight up. Anrich Nortje had all the time in the world and got under it but could not hold on. Chase added eight more runs and then slog swept Keshav Maharaj to deep midwicket where David Miller could not contend with the aerial ball and the wind and let a difficult chance slip.

Then, Maharaj was at square leg when Mayers, on 13, swept to him and he put it down. But the worst of the lot, from a visual perspective, was when Mayers hit Markram down the ground, Rabada and Jansen converged on the ball and didn't call and collided into each other. Jansen had to leave the field but returned and Markram finished with 1 for 28 from his four overs.

Bd pratidin English/Lutful Hoque

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