Proteas look for more Anrich Nortje heroics in do-or-die West Indies T20 World Cup clash

Proteas speedster Anrich Nortje celebrates a wicket during the T20 World Cup. Picture: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP

Proteas speedster Anrich Nortje celebrates a wicket during the T20 World Cup. Picture: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP

Published Jun 22, 2024


It’s been a World Cup to remember for Proteas fast bowler, Anrich Nortje, who has not only rediscovered his most lethal form, but has now overtaken the legendary Dale Steyn as South Africa’s leading wicket-taker at T20 World Cups.

South Africans spent their Friday night watching with baited breath to see if the Proteas could pull one over on the defending champions.

With England needing 14 runs from the last over in their penultimate Super Eights clash, captain Aiden Markram turned to the experienced Nortje to get the job done after Ottneil Baartman was smashed for 21 runs in his third over and Kagiso Rabada was bowled out.

With the dangerous Harry Brook on strike and all hopes of England’s win on his young shoulders, Nortje delivered the killer blow and dismissed him thanks to a stunning over the shoulder catch from Markram, who is making a habit of these clutch catches in the dying moments of T20 World Cup matches.

With Dale Steyn’s record of 30 wickets standing for some time, it would’ve taken something special to be broken and Nortje was up for the challenge, as Brook became wicket number 31 in only his 16th T20 World Cup match.

That’s not the only record that Nortje has notched up in this tournament - he now has taken at least one wicket in his last 16 T20 World Cup matches, beating Graeme Swann and Adam Zampa (15), underpinning his importance to the Proteas in this tournament.

Nortje’s T20 World Cup performance, leading the Proteas attack with 11 wickets and an economy rate of under six, underlines his destructive ability with the ball and demonstrated his never-say-die attitude.

Having been around the international team since his debut in 2019, Nortje has gained priceless experience, which he has used at the different venues where the Proteas have played at the T20 World Cup.

Adaptation is key and Nortje understands it’s not about pre-conceived plans, but adjusting and adapting in the moment. Something that can only come from experience.

"It's just a case of what's working on the day. We played three games in New York, so I suppose it was probably copy-paste for those three games, but now it's changing every game again, with different venues most of the time,“ Nortje said.

“So, you try and find out and see what's happening in the first few overs, and then try and adapt to that”.

It is a notch on Nortje’s belt to be in company of Steyn, and South Africa will hope he can continue in this vain in the Proteas’ final Super Eights match against West Indies in the early hours of Monday morning, which now effectively becomes a quarter-final.