Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Proteas hang on to beat Bangladesh in T20 World Cup thriller

Spin bowler Keshav Maharaj did well to contain the Tigers in the final over of a nail-biting contest.

The Proteas put one foot in the next round of the T20 World Cup after snatching a four-run victory over Bangladesh in a nail-biting clash in New York on Monday night.

Having set Bangladesh a target of 114 runs to win in what was a key encounter for both sides, the SA team had to dig deep in the closing stages to hold off their opponents.

While the Tigers were reduced to 50/4 in the 10th over of their innings, a fifth-wicket stand between Towhid Hridoy and Mohammad Mahmudullah pushed the game in their team’s favour, as the duo combined in a 44-run stand.

Hridoy made 37 runs off 34 balls before being trapped leg-before by fast bowler Kagiso Rabada in the 18th over of the innings, and Mahmadullah was ultimately removed by spinner Keshav Maharaj with the penultimate ball off the innings as Bangladesh were restricted to 109/7.

Maharaj led the South African attack, taking 3/27, with Rabada and fellow speedster Anrich Nortje taking two wickets each.

Proteas innings

Earlier, after winning the toss and choosing to bat, the Proteas were again saved by a middle-order partnership, as they had been in their match against the Netherlands over the weekend.

Reduced to 23/4 in the fifth over, they were resurrected by Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller, who shared 79 runs for the fifth wicket.

Klaasen was particularly impressive, gluing himself to the crease for an hour as he hit 46 runs off 44 balls at a strike rate of 104.54, in an innings which featured two fours and three sixes.

Falling just short of his fifth career T20 International century, Klaasen was removed by fast bowler Taskin Ahmed, who clipped his leg stump in the 18th over.

Miller fell just five balls later when he was bowled by spinner Rishad Hossain after making a patient 29 runs off 38 deliveries.

While both players were sent packing in the latter stages of the innings, however, they managed to carry their team to 113/6 in their 20 overs.

Tanzim Hasan Sakib was the most destructive of Bangladesh’s bowlers, taking 3/18 after ripping through South Africa’s top order, before Klaasen and Miller led the recovery.

Next match

There is still a mathematical chance that the Proteas (the only remaining unbeaten team in their first-round group) will not progress to the Super 8 stage, but lowly ranked Nepal will need to beat South Africa, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in their remaining group matches to keep them out.

After playing their first three games of the tournament in New York, the SA team will now travel to Saint Vincent to face Nepal in their last Group D match in Kingstown on Saturday.

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