Left hurting after being knocked out in the group stages of the 2019 ODI World Cup in England, the Proteas, having brushed aside the ‘taking the knee’ controversy, are looking more and more dangerous in the T20 World Cup with each match. On Tuesday, thriving on a pitch which suited their pacers to the ‘T,’ they put in a clinical show to outclass a listless Bangladesh by six wickets at Abu Dhabi after demolishing them for merely 84 in 18.2 overs.
SCORECARD | AS IT HAPPENED | POINTS TABLE
The win was sweet revenge for SA against a team they had lost to by 21 runs to in the ’19 World Cup in a high-scoring game at The Oval. Placed second in Group 1, South Africa -after notching up their third win in four games – enjoy a better net run rate (0.742) than Australia, who’re on the third spot with an NRR of -0.627. If they beat England on Saturday in Sharjah in what will be a virtual quarterfinal for them, SA should be through to the semis.
Having largely flown under the radar, they’re now beginning to make heads turn. The only worry for the Proteas will be the poor form of their star bat Quinton de Kock, who followed up his scores of 7 & 12 with 16 on Tuesday. After agreeing to take the knee, the opener needs to find some runs too!
In what is surely the most heartening feature of their resurgence, South Africa have finally found the Kagiso Rabada who was missing in the 2019 ODI World Cup in the 2021 T20 World Cup in UAE.
Firing on all cylinders on a wicket which aided his key weapons – late swing and vicious bounce, the 26-year-old fast bowling superstar ripped the heart out of Bangladesh’s top order, taking three wickets in five balls in a spell which saw him on the verge of a hat-trick. Delivering four overs of high-quality pace, Rabada bowled 14 dots, finishing with three for 20.
With his Delhi Capitals pace partner Anrich Nortje (3-8 in 3.2 overs) too going all guns blazing, Bangladesh’s batters seemed more like they had been caught napping in the first session of a Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg or Durban – as they were left to fend off short balls at express pace – rather than playing a T20 game. Between them, Rabada and Nortje – arguably the best fast bowling duo in the competition, took six for 26 in 7.2 overs to blow away a hapless Bangladesh on what was easily the quickest wicket of the tournament so far.
Not to be left out, Tabraiz Shamsi, the world’s No 1 T20I bowler, took two for 21.
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