In yet another low-scoring match at Nagpur, West Indies defeated South Africa by three wickets to enter the semi-final of the World T20 on Friday. Earlier, South Africa had scored 122/8, before the Windies accumulated the runs with two balls to spare to register their third win in a row.
Chasing 123, West Indies lost dangerous opener Chris Gayle in the first over after the left-hander missed one from Rabada to hear the sound of the timber. Although they lost Gayle, Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher went on a counter-attack taking Chris Morris and Rabada to the cleaners. When it was starting to look West Indies all the way, Rilee Rossouw produced a magnificent effort on the field to throw the stumps down at Andre Fletcher’s end.
With Fletcher back in the pavilion, du Plessis brought on the spinners to keep a check on the runs, and it worked perfectly as West Indies dipped below the required run rate for the first time in the innings. The score board pressure mounted up quickly and led to the downfall of Charles after he skied one from Wiese to give the Proteas skipper the catch.
Dwayne Bravo followed Charles shortly back to the dressing room after scoring eight runs to leave the Windies needing 36 off the last six overs. Wickets continued to tumble as Andre Russell and Darren Sammy departed in a row with Imran Tahir taking the wickets. However, Marlon Samuels scored two boundaries in the penultimate over to take the Windies nine runs away from a victory. Although Samuels fell in the 19th over, Carlos Braithwaite finished the match in favour of West Indies with two balls to spare.
Earlier, West Indies won the toss and opted to bowl first on a slow and dry wicket at the Jamtha stadium in Nagpur. Forced to bat first, the Proteas got off to a horror start losing three wickets in the first three overs. The first blow came in the form of a run out in the opening over after a misunderstanding between Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock led to the run out of the former.
Skipper Faf du Plessis came in next and went after Andre Russell in the next over with a classy lofted drive over mid-off for a six. But his attacking intent led to his downfall in the last ball of the over after a mistimed shot lobbed up to mid-off with Suleiman Benn taking a fine diving catch. Rilee Rossouw, who came into the XI in place of JP Duminy, arrived and returned to the pavilion even before the scorers could change the name on the board.
With the team looking down the barrel at 20/3, AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock formed a 26-run partnership for the fourth wicket to take the team closer to the fifty-run mark. When the duo was starting to look comfortable in the middle, Dwayne Bravo arrived on the scene to remove de Villiers with a slow ball, which took an inside edge off the right hander’s bat to crash into the stumps. With the spinners having a field day on a slow wicket, fast bowlers also opted for slow deliveries and reaped the rewards.
Wickets continued to tumble for the Proteas as David Miller also returned to the pavilion after Gayle knocked the stumps back with a ball that went straight through the left-hander’s defence. With the team once again in trouble at 47/5, de Kock took the mission to get the team out of trouble by forming a partnership with all-rounder David Wiese. Rather than going for boundaries, the pair took a calculated approach of taking singles and twos to move the innings forward. The duo formed a 50-run partnership for the sixth wicket, with de Kock playing matured knock of 47 off 46 balls. Although de Kock fell in the 16th over, David Wiese and Chris Morris took the team of a moderate total of 122/8.