Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen powered South Africa to an eight-wicket win over the West Indies in the T20 World Cup on Tuesday.
Chasing 144 for victory in the Super 12 contest, the Proteas bounced back from an opening loss to Australia as Van der Dussen (43) and Markram (51) put on an unbeaten partnership of 83 to win with 10 balls to spare in Dubai.
Opener Evin Lewis hit 56 in the West Indies’ 143-8 but the two-time champions suffered their second straight loss, having slumped to a heavy defeat by England in their opener.
However, the match was overshadowed by Proteas star Quinton de Kock’s refusal to take the knee prior to the clash as he pulled out due to “personal reasons”.
Temba Bavuma’s team took the knee after their decision to field first.
Fast bowler Dwaine Pretorius took three wickets as the West Indies again failed to fire after a painstaking 16 off 35 balls from Lendl Simmons at the top of the order.
Skipper Kieron Pollard hit a useful 20-ball 26 before falling to Pretorius, who was on a hat-trick only for Dwayne Bravo to hit a boundary.
After a sedate start, Lewis took the attack to South Africa by smashing boundaries off pace bowler Kagiso Rabada and spinner Markram, who opened the bowling.
The left-handed Lewis reached his 10th T20I fifty with a six before getting out to Keshav Maharaj.
Maharaj struck again with his left-arm spin to send back Nicholas Pooran for 12 and Rabada ended Simmons’ struggle the following over.
The West Indies dropped Chris Gayle from No 3 to 4 in the batting order but the change in position barely helped as the big hitter fell for 12.
Anrich Nortje bowled the powerful Andre Russell for five and returned economical figures of 1-14 from his four overs of pace.
In reply, South Africa lost Bavuma, run out for two, but Reeza Hendricks and Van der Dussen put the chase back on track with their partnership of 57.
Hendricks fell to Akeal Hosein for 39.
Van der Dussen was joined by Markram, who raised his fifty in 25 balls with a six off Russell and then hit the winning runs.
© Agence France-Presse