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Thursday, July 25, 2024

South Africa works hard to beat United States in Super Eight at T20 World Cup

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NORTH SOUND, Antigua — South Africa had to work hard to earn an 18-run win over the fast-improving United States in the opening game of the Super Eight at the Twenty20 World Cup on Wednesday.

South Africa works hard to beat United States in Super Eight at T20 World Cup
South Africa works hard to beat United States in Super Eight at T20 World Cup

Andries Gous made an unbeaten 80 off 47 balls for the U.S. — against country of his birth — to move atop the batting chart at the World Cup before South Africa restricted the Americans at 176-6.

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Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada claimed 3-18 and spinner Keshav Maharaj got the prized wicket of U.S. captain Aaron Jones for a duck — no runs — to finish with 1-24.

Quinton de Kock had earlier made a rampant 74 off 40 balls and Heinrich Klaasen provided the perfect finish with 36 not out in the South African total of 194-4 after Jones won the toss and elected to field.

“Pretty happy with the performance as a whole,” South Africa captain Aiden Markram said. “A couple of overs here and there we need to tidy up … but the wicket definitely changes and gets a bit slower, and they were a lot less sloppy.”

Despite four straight wins during the group stage, South Africa had been struggling in the power play throughout the tournament with its top score of 38 in the first six overs against Nepal.

But de Kock opened in friendlier conditions for batters in the West Indies than in the U.S. as he smacked fast bowler Jaspeep Singh for three straight sixes in a 28-run over during the power play that provided South Africa momentum for a big total.

De Kock and Markram dominated both spinners and the pacers as they raised a solid 110-run stand after Saurabh Netravalkar had provided the early breakthrough by getting the wicket of Reeza Hendricks in his second over.

Left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh got plenty of grip off the slow wicket and squeezed the runs when he had de Kock caught in the deep and then David Miller offered a tame return catch to the spinner off the first ball he faced.

De Kock’s first half-century in the tournament featured five sixes and seven boundaries as he utilized the short boundaries on one side of the wicket with his perfect pull shots before he missed out on Singh’s full toss.

“We’ve had some tricky wickets so it was nice to spend sometime in the middle today,” de Kock said. “The USA put us under pressure towards the end. It was a great game.”

Netravalkar, who bowled a sensational Super Over in the United States’ historic win over heavyweights Pakistan in the group stage, struck immediately in his return spell when Markram was brilliantly caught by diving Ali Khan at deep backward point off a full pitched ball.

But Klaasen used all his T20 experience in the last five overs and struck three sixes while Tristan Stubbs also hit two fours in his 16-ball unbeaten 20 which lifted South Africa total.

Steven Taylor provided the U.S. a confident start with four boundaries and a six in his quickfire knock of 24 off 14 balls before he ballooned a catch at mid-on as Rabada struck twice off his first two overs in the power play.

South Africa pulled back nicely through Maharaj, who had Jones caught behind for a five-ball zero, and when Corey Anderson’s stumps were knocked back by Anrich Nortje in the 10th over, the U.S. still needed 124 for victory.

But Gous and Singh revived U.S. hopes as they came down hard on wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi and added 91 runs for the sixth-wicket stand. Gous completed his half-century with two successive big sixes against Nortje as the batting pair brought down the target to 28 off the final two overs.

However, Rabada bowled a brilliant penultimate over for just two runs and also had Singh caught at mid-wicket that fizzled out the U.S. hopes of another upset.

“Hard to take a defeat after coming so close,” Jones said. “We did lack discipline in the bowling at times, once we play good cricket we can beat any team in the world. We need to be a lot more disciplined.”

Co-host West Indies and England are the other teams in Super Eights Group 2 and will meet in St. Lucia later Wednesday.

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This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.


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