T20 World Cup South Africa vs US

T20 World Cup

South Africa commenced their Super Eight campaign in the T20 World Cup with a hard-fought 18-run victory over the United States in Antigua on Wednesday. The match was defined by Kagiso Rabada’s pivotal performance, where his experience proved crucial in the tense final moments.

Struggling on slower pitches during the group stage, South Africa found their rhythm at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, posting a competitive total of 194-4 thanks largely to Quinton de Kock’s impressive innings of 74 runs.

In reply, the US, opting to field after winning the toss, saw opener Andries Gous lead their charge with an unbeaten 80, well-supported by Harmeet Singh’s 38 lower down the order. Despite their efforts, Rabada’s disciplined bowling spell of 3-18 ultimately restricted the US batsmen, ensuring they fell short of the target.

Reflecting on his performance, De Kock, named player of the match, expressed satisfaction with spending valuable time in the middle after recent challenges. He credited the team’s ability to adapt to the conditions and capitalize on the powerplay overs.

Early in South Africa’s innings, Reeza Hendricks fell cheaply to the US attack, but De Kock counterattacked aggressively, scoring at a brisk pace of over 10 runs per over during the powerplay phase. His partnership with captain Aiden Markram, who contributed a valuable 46, laid a solid foundation for South Africa’s imposing total.

Despite effective spells from US bowlers like Saurabh Netravalkar, who finished with figures of 2-21, South Africa’s middle-order batsmen, including Heinrich Klaasen and Tristan Stubbs, accelerated the scoring in the final overs, adding crucial runs to the scoreboard.

In their chase, the US started aggressively with Steven Taylor’s brisk 24, but Rabada’s timely strikes halted their momentum. He accounted for key wickets, including Taylor and Nitish Kumar, while spinner Keshav Maharaj dismissed US captain Aaron Jones without scoring.

Gous’s resilient half-century kept US hopes alive, highlighted by consecutive sixes, yet the mounting required run rate proved insurmountable. Despite a late surge in the 18th over, where Tabraiz Shamsi conceded 22 runs, Rabada returned to quash US hopes by dismissing Harmeet Singh and sealing the win for South Africa.

Reflecting on the match, US captain Jones lamented their bowling discipline lapses, believing a tighter performance could have seen them through. He acknowledged the closeness of the contest and the missed opportunity to cross the finish line.

With this victory, South Africa solidified their position in the Super Eight stage of the tournament, showcasing resilience and strategic acumen in a high-stakes encounter against the US.

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By- Sahiba Suri

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