T20 World Cup: Rabada stars as South Africa close on semi-final spot

By Sports Desk November 02, 2021

South Africa edged closer to a T20 World Cup semi-final spot thanks to a straightforward six-wicket victory over struggling Bangladesh on Tuesday.

Few gave Bangladesh any hope of picking up their first win following the loss of talisman Shakib Al Hasan and they folded without putting up much of a fight, South Africa comfortably reaching their target of 85.

After a somewhat slow start for the South African bowlers, they soon found their stride as Kagiso Rabada (3-20) made a real dent in Bangladesh's batting order.

Rabada took Mohammad Naim (9) and Soumya Sarkar (0) in consecutive deliveries in the fourth over and got his third wicket in the sixth, with Reeza Hendricks catching Mushfiqur Rahim (0).

Wickets continued to tumble, with Mahmudullah (3) and Afif Hossain (0) also joining their fallen team-mates back in the pavilion by the end of the ninth over.

Mahedi Hasan (27) and Liton Das (24) did their best to give Bangladesh a chance but otherwise only Shamim Hossain (11) even reached double figures and they were all out for 84 with eight balls left, Anrich Nortje (3-8) finishing them off with successive wickets.

The Proteas' chase did not get off to the greatest start as they lost Hendricks (4) lbw to the impressive Taskin Ahmed (2-18) on the sixth delivery, though they soon found something of a groove with four boundaries before losing their next wicket, Quinton de Kock (16), in the fifth over.

Aiden Markram's day then ended before it had barely started, the right-hander caught by Naim at wide slip for a duck, but Temba Bavuma (31 not out) stepped up and hit three fours and a single six as he top-scored.

Rassie van der Dussen's dismissal after 22 off 27 deliveries meant little in the grand scheme, as South Africa comfortably crossed the line with 39 balls remaining.

Victory keeps them in second place in Group 1 behind England with one match left, and with a superior run rate to Australia.

Rabada cadabra!

The wicket in Abu Dhabi always looked promising for seamers and Rabada was in fine form. Nortje got even better figures with the ball, but Rabada's work was decisive in truly dismantling Bangladesh nice and early.

He said: "That wicket favoured the seamers and I'm just glad that today was my day. Every time we have the opportunity to practice, we try and implement what could possibly work for us. We always train hard, and today it paid off. It's nice to see the ball swing, especially in T20 cricket, but it wasn't a surprise, having seen that happen in the IPL games here."

Ahmed a bright spark

Ahmed was one of few reasons for optimism for Bangladesh here. Overall, he has enjoyed a decent tournament and he kept South Africa's batsmen on their toes, impressing his captain.

Mahmudullah said: "That was a poor batting display but having said that there was enough assistance in the pitch. Taskin has been bowling well in this tournament. We had the choice between Taskin and Fizzy [Mustafizur Rahman], but we went with Taskin because he has been bowling well."

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