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South Africa vs Nepal Match Thrils

Nepal missed out on a historic win as South Africa secured two more points thanks to Tabraiz Shamsi’s double wicket, patience shown by Ottniel Bartman in the death overs and some luck on the last ball. Chasing South Africa’s target of 115/7, Nepal needed 18 runs off 18 balls and 23-year-old Asif Sheikh took the lead. Shamsi then dismissed Dipendra Singh and Asif in a two-run over, leaving the lower order to score 16 runs off 12 balls. Sompal Kami and Gulshan Jha brought the score to 2 off 2 balls when Bartman bowled two short deliveries which Jha swiped and missed. In the second over, the batsmen ran in and Quinton de Kock threw towards the stumps at the non-striker end but the ball hit Jha. However, the ball went straight to Klaasen who broke the stumps and had Jha caught short of the crease. With that one-run loss, Nepal’s T20 World Cup campaign came to an end. Where was the game won?

In the death overs. Nepal matched South Africa in terms of powerplay returns and performed better in the middle overs, but were disappointed in the death overs. South Africa struggled with the bat in this phase as well, but managed to score 35 runs in the end, which proved to be enough in the end.

Nepal decided to bowl in their second match of the World Cup in Kingstown and the reason was already clear. South Africa openers Quinton de Kock and Reeza Hendricks struggled to get the ball through the middle for half of the powerplay, but de Kock once again pushed the ball forward and was caught by Dipendra Singh for 10 off 11 balls. Hendricks hit two boundaries on both sides of the wicket off Karan MC, but the batting continued to struggle. Nepal ended a tight powerplay with the first sign of spin through Kushal Malla.

Middle-overs: South Africa continue to struggle against spin

Sandeep Lamichhane returned and immediately upped the quality of Nepal’s bowling attack. He started with a two-run over in which he made the ball dip and turn and troubled the batsmen. Aiden Markram was in poor form early on, but Hendricks dismissed Malla in his second over and hit the first of two sixes he hit in the South African innings. Malla was immediately replaced by offspinner Kusal Bhurtel, who was also miserly and put the brakes on South African scoring. South Africa were 57/1 at half-time, but Bhurtel offered a simple catch in the 11th over to give Hendricks a lifeline. However, he immediately made amends and forced Markram to play a shot onto the stumps, leaving him for 15 off 22 balls. Lamichhane had almost dismissed Heinrich Klaasen early on when the South African went for a switch hit but couldn’t reach backward point. Nepal continued to attack South Africa with spin, as Bhurtel dismissed Klaasen in the next over, who was caught by Karan at extra cover. Death Overs: Nepal bowlers put up an even better performance

Nepal kept South Africa from scoring a boundary for 33 balls between the 11th and 16th overs. Even when this streak was broken, the game did not change dramatically for South Africa, as runs were still hard to come by. Dipendra Singh came back in the 16th over and dismissed Hendricks for 43 off 49 balls, taking a return catch off a top-edge. Lamichhane bowled his fourth tight over and finished with 0 for 18, which included 11 dot balls. The need to increase the scoring led to the dismissal of David Miller in the 18th over off Dipendra, which went off the outside edge to Lamichhane at short third man. Dipendra finished with 3 for 21 in 4 overs, which included 9 dot balls. Tristan Stubbs raised hopes of a big win with a six at the start of the 20th over, but Bhurtel conceded just three runs and finished the over with two wickets of Marco Jansen and Kagiso Rabada. He bowled 12 dot balls and took 4 wickets for 19 runs.

Nepal were largely cautious, but in parts showed courage to hit five boundaries in the first six overs – two in a row, to set them up for a chase. Most importantly, they didn’t lose a single wicket and kept the pressure on South Africa. Kagiso Rabada had the best chance of the opening exchanges when he got under the top-edge off Asif Sheikh, but the ball slipped straight out of his hands.

Middle-overs: Asif Sheikh, Anil Shah give Nepal hope

Tabraiz Shamsi shattered Nepal’s resolve in the eighth over by dismissing Bhurtel, who went for a reverse sweep and missed, and then shook the stumps of Nepal captain Rohit Paudel. Anil Shah and Asif Sheikh planned a comeback, but Nepal fell behind halfway through. After the drinks break, Nepal’s batting pair took a new turn, starting with Saha hitting two boundaries in Anrich Nortje’s 12-run over. Saha then hit a mistimed shot outside long-off off Shamsi. Sheikh then welcomed Rabada with a swivel-pull, followed by a boundary and a six in the same region. Nepal bounced back from 48/2 in 10 overs to score 82/2 in 13 overs and get two big points. Aiden Markram brought South Africa back into the contest by dismissing Saha, but Nepal needed 25 runs in the death overs.

Death Overs: Nepal misses by one run

For the second time in the chase, Shamsi’s double wicket derailed Nepal. This time it worked out for good as they couldn’t recover enough to get two points in the game. Sheikh’s dismissal changed Nepal’s fortunes, as they held their own in the middle stages, while the lower order struggled to score runs. Sompal Kami smashed a 105-metre six over square leg off Nortje to take the team to the final over, where Gulshan Jha hit a four to take the team ahead. But Bartman kept his composure in the last two balls and ensured South Africa finished the group stage without a blemish.