Powell, King lead West Indies to tense victory

West Indies 132 for 7 (Powell 43*, Magala 3-21) beat South Africa 131 for 8 (Miller 48, Smith 2-21) by three wickets


Rovman Powell, in his first match as full-time West Indies T20I captain, led his team to victory in a short but tense affair in Centurion.

After persistent rain delayed the start of the game by two hours and then reduced it to 11 overs a side, West Indies opted to put South Africa in and were mostly sharp in the field but still found themselves chasing a steep target of 132.

Brandon King’s eight-ball 23 gave them a good start and Johnson Charles’ 14-ball 28 built on that but it was Powell who ensured West Indies got over the line.

They needed 46 runs off 24 balls when Powell took 23 runs off Bjorn Fortuin’s second over, to bring the required run-rate down to seven an over for the last three overs.

He held his nerve when Sisanda Magala took two wickets in two balls at the other end to leave West Indies needing nine off the last over. Fittingly, Powell hit the winning runs with three balls to spare.

West Indies have now won four out of seven T20Is against South Africa in their own backyard and have a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Rovman Powell led the visitors to victory•Mar 25, 2023•AFP/Getty Images

Hosein strikes upfront; Rossouw and Hendricks hit back

When the match got under way, players on both sides seemed keen to get things going as quickly as possible. Quinton de Kock tried to heave the first ball he faced, from Akeal Hosein, over fine leg but misread the length and top-edged.

Sheldon Cottrell was stationed there and took a simple catch. The early dismissal of de Kock didn’t keep South Africa down for too long. Rilee Rossouw gave himself three balls to get his eye in and then reverse-slapped Hosein past backward point for the first boundary of the innings.

He followed up with a shuffle down the pitch for a loft over mid-on but his aggression didn’t last long. Rossouw was out in the next over when he tried to hit Cottrell over mid-off and only got as far as Powell. That left it to Reeza Hendricks to take advantage of a three-over Powerplay.

He sent the penultimate delivery over deep square leg for six and then swept the final one for six more to take the score to 30 for 2.

Middle overs meltdown

Boundary hitting was top of South Africa’s minds, even as the ball seemed to stick in the pitch a touch, and it backfired on them. Aiden Markram tried to clear deep midwicket off Alzarri Joseph, was too early on the stroke and skied it to Charles, who took a good catch.

In the next over, Hendricks was premature on the pull and feathered an edge to Nicholas Pooran behind the stumps. And the over after that, Heinrich Klaasen threw his bat at a wide Cottrell delivery and sent to it Charles at backward point.

South Africa lost 21 for 3 and boundaries dried up. They did not find the rope once between the fifth and eighth overs.

Miller and Magala finish strongly

David Miller’s finishing ability is well known and he delivered on his reputation when he started the ninth over by smashing Romario Shepherd over deep square leg. Miller went on to smoke him through the covers before handing over to Sisanda Magala to face the first ball of the 10th over.

Magala swivel-pulled Cottrell for four to start and then took back-to-back sixes off the last two balls, both slower balls.

David Miller made a 22-ball 48•Mar 25, 2023•AFP/Getty Images

Miller took back the mantle and scored 14 runs off the next three balls he faced before he was caught on the deep midwicket boundary with two balls left in the innings. South Africa scored 60 runs off the last three overs. (ESPNcricinfo)

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