The West Indies produced an all-round performance to outclass South Africa by three wickets in a Group 1 clash at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium on Friday to enter the semi-finals of the World Twenty20 cricket tournament.
Batting first, South Africa were never in control of the game as they lost wickets at regular intervals to post a meagre total of 122/8 in 20 overs. In reply, riding on Marlon Samuels’ impressive 44, the West Indies batted sensibly as they chased down the target posting 123/7 in 19.4 overs.
Chasing a tricky target of 123, the West Indies lost hard-hitting opener Chris Gayle in the very first over, thanks to pacer Kagiso Rabada who cleaned him up after the latter was hit for a boundary by the left-handed batsman. After the loss of the first wicket, Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher used their experience to good effect to hold on for a couple of overs but the sixth over saw some outstanding fielding followed by an electrifying throw by Rilee Rossouw ended Fletcher’s stay on the crease.
Despite the wicket of Fletcher, Charles played positively alongside incoming batsman Marlon Samuels to take team past 50-run mark. But South Africa struck twice in quick succession dismissing Charles and Dwayne Bravo to stay alive in the game. But Samuels used his experience to good effect to take team close to victory line before getting himself out.
The batting side failed to learn from the earlier mistakes on a wicket which looked tough for batting as part-time off-spinner Gayle, who had dismissed Rossouw, struck yet again in the ninth over to shatter David Miller’s stumps and have South Africa in a spot of bother at 47/5. Incoming batsman David Wiese and De Kock took their time in the middle without trying anything silly to help team go past 90-run mark in 15 overs.
But as De Kock was chipping in with ones and twos to get close to his second T20I fifty, Russell came in to get rid of the left-handed batsman to have the former three runs short off half-century. With wickets falling at regular intervals, life became difficult for the Proteas batsmen to post a respectable total as tail-enders Chris Morris (16 not out) and Aaron Phangiso helped team reach 122/8.