King leads the way as West Indies see off South Africa in T20I opener

By Sports Desk May 24, 2024

Brandon King led the way as West Indies enjoyed a 28-run victory in the opening match of their T20I series with South Africa. 

In his first T20I as captain, King top-scored with 79 from 45 balls during the first international at Sabina Park in nearly two years.

The 29-year-old set the forthcoming T20 World Cup co-hosts on their way with a 79-run partnership with Kyle Mayers helping them to 109/1 after 10 overs.

However, they struggled to build on that momentum and were 66/7 thereon to finish on 175/8 with Ottneil Baartman and Andile Phehlukwayo both taking three wickets apiece.

South Africa were slow out of the blocks with Quinton de Kock failing to reach double figures as they were reduced to 35/3 in the fifth over, and required 99 runs to win at the halfway point in their innings.

Reeza Hendricks - the only visiting player to score more than 20 - put on an impressive late surge of 87 off 51 balls, but it proved academic with the Proteas bowled out for 147.

Data debrief

Becoming the 14th different player to captain West Indies in men's T20Is, King will have been pleased to start his reign against South Africa - the nation against whom he boasted his best T20I batting strike in the format (171.4).

He certainly continued in that vein, reaching 50 off just 26 balls for his fastest T20I half-century. It proved crucial as the hosts went on to record their biggest margin of victory over the Proteas when batting first.

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    South Africa registered their second-most productive powerplay in the tournament so far, with Quinton de Kock proving invaluable with 49 runs during that time.

    In England's powerplay, they managed to get just 41 runs, their lowest such tally of the year, and though they pushed late on, they came up just short in the chase.

    Buttler admitted that in hindsight, it was South Africa's start that cost England in the end, despite giving themselves a reachable target.

    "I'd say it was lost in the powerplay," Buttler said. "Quinton de Kock came out and played with really good intent, and we couldn't really match that. I think we were about 20 behind them at the end of our first six.

    "The wicket did slow up, which allowed us to pull it back in the middle, and we were happy to be chasing 160. But yeah, that innings was the difference.

    "It's still a good pitch but a little slower than we probably expected. I'm proud of how we responded with the ball after their good powerplay, and Brook and Livingstone had an excellent partnership there to take us so close.

    "At one stage, we were favourites but T20 cricket is never that simple, and credit to South Africa for closing it out.

    "We know we're still in it. We played well today; we just didn't quite get over the line."

    De Kock, who finished on 65, was named Player of the Match for his impressive turn – he equalled the fastest half-century of the tournament (22 balls, level with USA's Aaron Jones), and broke his own record for the most runs in a powerplay by a South Africa batter at a men's T20 World Cup.

    South Africa remain unbeaten in the tournament so far and have put themselves in a good position to qualify for the semi-finals, and De Kock was pleased with how they got the win on Friday.

    "My plan was to just bat as long as I can and score as many runs I can," De Kock said. "That was pretty much it. I don't really carry or lose confidence; I just get on with my game. So that is what I focused on.

    "I thought we bowled really well, especially in the powerplay. We controlled it really nicely. Overall, we were pretty solid and to defend on 160 on a decent pitch is a good effort."

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    Mayers, who has played 37 T20Is, was named as a replacement after King was ruled out due to a side strain which forced him to retire hurt in the Caribbean side's loss to England in St Lucia.

    However, Mayers will not be involved in the clash of the co-hosts, as he is expected to join the squad on Saturday, and could possibly feature in their final Group 2 Super Eight contest against South Africa.

    The replacement of a player requires the approval of the Event Technical Committee before the player can be officially added to the squad.

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  • South Africa narrowly beat England to edge closer to World Cup semi-finals South Africa narrowly beat England to edge closer to World Cup semi-finals

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    Quinton de Kock starred for the Proteas, but it was Anrich Nortje who ensured England could not win thanks to his bowling in the final over.

    South Africa got off to the perfect start, registering their second-most productive powerplay in the tournament so far, without losing a wicket.

    De Kock hit his half-century off 22 balls, eventually finishing with 65. However, they soon slipped away as England rallied.

    Despite an early over costing him 21 runs, Archer finished strongly on 3-40, helped by some superb catching from Jos Buttler as England eventually limited them to 163-6.

    However, England could not keep that momentum going when they stepped up to bat, getting just 41 runs in their own powerplay – their lowest tally this year.

    It was not until the introduction of Harry Brook (53) and Liam Livingstone (33) that they found their groove, but when the former got caught in the in the final over, Sam Curran and Jofra Archer could not get the 14 runs they needed from the final five balls, finishing just short on 156-6.

    Data Debrief: Records aplenty for De Kock

    De Kock has scored back-to-back fifties at the T20 World Cup, but his tally today equalled the fastest half-century of the tournament (USA's Aaron Jones also got 50 off 22 balls).

    His 49 runs in the powerplay is the most by a South Africa batter at a men's T20 World Cup, beating his own previous record of 46 against England in 2016.

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