World T20: Nortje, Rabada boost South Africa semi-final hopes
South Africa beat Bangladesh by six wickets to strengthen their Men’s T20 World Cup semi-final hopes. A dismal Bangladesh were bowled out for 84 with 10 balls to spare, having earlier stumbled to 24-3 and 45-6.
Anrich Nortje claimed a devastating 3-8, with fellow fast bowler Kagiso Rabada taking 3-20 in Abu Dhabi.
South Africa slipped to 33-3 to give Bangladesh hope before an unbeaten 31 from captain Temba Bavuma saw the Proteas home with 39 balls left.
South Africa are second in Group One behind England, with the top two teams qualifying for the knockout stages.
Third-placed Australia are also in contention for the semi-finals, but the Proteas have a superior net run-rate after the convincing win over Bangladesh.
The defeat eliminates Bangladesh, who face Australia on Thursday, while South Africa play England in their final group game on Saturday.
Bangladesh toil against South Africa’s pace
Bangladesh went into this match knowing their semi-final hopes were all but over after losing their first three matches.
They were also without all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who was ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a hamstring injury, for the first time in a T20 World Cup match since 2007.
They never got going with the bat, undone by the pace of first Rabada and then Nortje.
Rabada claimed three wickets in five balls to dismantle the top order, including trapping Soumya Sarkar for a first-ball duck, as Bangladesh struggled through the powerplay overs.
Nortje’s use of the short ball paid off when captain Mahmudullah gloved a rising delivery to point, and the boundaries dried up as Bangladesh crawled to 40-5 at the halfway stage.
Mahedi Hasan scored Bangladesh’s first boundary for 50 deliveries when he dabbed left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj away, and he hit the sole six of the innings in the 18th over.
But Nortje’s two wickets in two balls to start the penultimate over ended Bangladesh’s innings, and left them with a total that never felt as though it would trouble South Africa.
In such a close group, run-rate could end up being crucial, with South Africa knowing a quick victory could boost their semi-final hopes further.
However, they lost Reeza Hendricks in the first over of their reply before Quinton de Kock, who had started to give the innings impetus, was bowled by Mahedi.
When Aiden Markram fell for a duck, edging the excellent Taskin Ahmed to slip, South Africa had lost three wickets inside the first six overs.
However, Bavuma, a level-headed batter and captain, counter-attacked. He and Rassie van der Dussen ran hard, before Bavuma launched Nasum Ahmed for a towering six over mid-wicket.
With such a low total, neither player had to force the rate or play risky shots, allowing them to wrap up victory in calm fashion. (BBC Sport)