Proteas spinners bamboozle West Indies big hitters to level T20 series
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South Africa: 166/7 (Bavuma 46, Hendricks 42, McCoy 3/25)
West Indies: 150/9 (Fletcher 35, Allen 34, Rabada 3/37, Linde 2/19)
South Africa won by 16 runs, series levelled 1-1
CAPE TOWN - Twenty-four hours is a long time in politics. It seems in cricket it’s an eternity with the Proteas completing a dramatic change of fortunes to level the five-match series at 1-1 in Grenada.
After being blown away in the first T20I on Saturday at the St George’s Oval, Temba Bavuma’s team showed great character to bounce back spectacularly.
The script appeared to be following a similar pattern to the first T20I when the West Indies restricted South Africa to 166/7 – just six runs more than Saturday’s total – after again being inserted by Kieron Pollard.
But South Africa’s spin twins George Linde (2/19) and Tabraiz Shamsi (1/16) spun a web around the Windies’ middle-order batsmen to throttle the run chase, with the duo conceding just 35 runs in eight overs whilst picking up the three crucial wickets of Nicholas Pooran, Andre Russell and Pollard as the home side limped to 150/9 in reply.
It was, though, a complete bowling performance, supported by some excellent ground fielding and catching in the deep, with the fast bowlers initially laying the platform.
Anrich Nortje built up a good head of steam early on, and was rewarded for his bustling efforts when he struck the first blow by bursting through the defences of the dangerous Evin Lewis. The powerful left-hander was threatening to deliver another pyrotechnics show, but Nortje was having none of it on Sunday.
But to beat the best teams in the world, it is often that the seniors need to lead the way. South Africa’s spearhead Kagiso Rabada certainly responded to his captain Temba Bavuma’s call with a scintillating display.
Rabada’s role is to strike and the big fast bowler did just that to finish with figures of 3/37. Bar a couple of late sixes from the swinging bat of tailender Fabian Allen, Rabada was in complete control as he sent the big three of Chris Gayle, Andre Fletcher and Dwayne Bravo back to the dugout.
It certainly did not seem that South Africa had enough runs for their bowlers to defend at the turnaround. Openers Quinton de Kock (26) and Reeza Hendricks (42) had provided a rollicking platform with a 73-run opening stand in just 6.4 overs, only for the middle-order once again not being able to continue the momentum throughout the innings.
It was only skipper Bavuma that found any form of fluency as he kept the scoreboard moving along with 46 off 33 balls.
Fortunately, though, the bowling and fielding units ensured the target was enough on the day, allowing South Africa to rebuild some much-needed confidence.