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South Africa beats United States in Super Eight at T20 World Cup. England bowls 1st vs West Indies

AP |
Jun 20, 2024 05:56 AM IST

South Africa beats United States in Super Eight at T20 World Cup. England bowls 1st vs West Indies

NORTH SOUND, Antigua — South Africa had to work hard to earn an 18-run win over the fast-improving United States in the opening game of the Super Eight at the Twenty20 World Cup on Wednesday.

South Africa beats United States in Super Eight at T20 World Cup. England bowls 1st vs West Indies

Andries Gous made an unbeaten 80 off 47 balls for the U.S. — against the country of his birth — to move atop the batting charts at the World Cup before South Africa restricted the Americans at 176-6.

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Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada claimed 3-18 and spinner Keshav Maharaj got the prized wicket of U.S. captain Aaron Jones for a duck — no runs — to finish with 1-24.

Quinton de Kock had earlier made a rampant 74 off 40 balls and Heinrich Klaasen provided the perfect finish with 36 not out in the South African total of 194-4 after Jones won the toss and elected to field.

“Pretty happy with the performance as a whole," South Africa captain Aiden Markram said. “A couple of overs here and there we need to tidy up … but the wicket definitely changes and gets a bit slower, and they were a lot less sloppy.”

Despite four straight wins during the group stage, South Africa had been struggling in the power play throughout the tournament with its top score of 38 in the first six overs against Nepal.

But de Kock opened in friendlier conditions for batters in the West Indies than in the U.S. as he smacked fast bowler Jaspeep Singh for three straight sixes in a 28-run over during the power play that provided South Africa momentum for a big total.

De Kock and Markram dominated both spinners and the pacers as they raised a solid 110-run stand after Saurabh Netravalkar had provided the early breakthrough by getting the wicket of Reeza Hendricks in his second over.

Left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh got plenty of grip off the slow wicket and squeezed the runs when he had de Kock caught in the deep and then David Miller offered a tame return catch to the spinner off the first ball he faced.

“We’ve had some tricky wickets so it was nice to spend sometime in the middle today,” de Kock said. “The USA put us under pressure towards the end. It was a great game.”

Netravalkar, who bowled a sensational Super Over in the United States’ historic win over heavyweights Pakistan in the group stage, struck immediately in his return spell when Markram was brilliantly caught by diving Ali Khan at deep backward point off a full pitched ball.

But Klaasen used all his T20 experience in the last five overs and struck three sixes while Tristan Stubbs also hit two fours in his 16-ball unbeaten 20 which lifted the South Africa total.

Steven Taylor provided the U.S. a confident start with four boundaries and a six in his quickfire knock of 24 off 14 balls before he ballooned a catch at mid-on as Rabada struck twice off his first two overs in the power play.

South Africa pulled back nicely through Maharaj, who had Jones caught behind for a five-ball zero, and when Corey Anderson’s stumps were knocked back by Anrich Nortje in the 10th over, the U.S. still needed 124 for victory.

“Hard to take a defeat after coming so close,” Jones said. “We did lack discipline in the bowling at times, once we play good cricket we can beat any team in the world. We need to be a lot more disciplined.” England bowls after winning toss against West Indies

At Gros Islet, St. Lucia, defending champion England won the toss and chose to bowl in the second Super Eight match Wednesday against co-host the West Indies.

The two-time World Cup winners come together after vastly differing experiences of group play.

The West Indies blasted through its group with four consecutive wins, finishing with a 104-run win over previously unbeaten Afghanistan which was one of the most comprehensive of the group stage. Those four wins are part of a larger, eight-match winning streak in T20 internationals.

England’s progression to the Super Eight stage was in doubt after its first two matches, a rained out game against Scotland and a 26 run loss to Australia. It had to improve its net run-rate in its final match against Oman, which it did by chasing down a winning total in 3.1 overs, before its qualification was confirmed when Australia beat Scotland.

The Daren Sammy Stadium, named for the West Indies’ two-time World Cup-winning captain and current coach, has provided some of the best batting conditions at the World Cup. The pitch was been fast and bouncy, which suited the West Indies batters against Afghanistan two days ago.

Nicholas Pooran smashed the highest individual score of the tournament, 98 from 53 balls, as the West Indies posted the highest team total, 218-5. Wednesday's match is being played on the same pitch.

England made one lineup change, naming Mark Wood in place of Chris Jordan. Liam Livingston has been included after recovering frmo a stomach bug.

The West Indies made two changes, bringing back Roston Chase for Shai Hope and Romario Shepherd for Obed McCoy.

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