South Africa beat Bangladesh by 20 runs in Bloemfontein to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match T20I series. JON CARDINELLI reports.
The Proteas should be pleased with their batting performance in the initial and closing overs of their innings. Their bowling display, however, was less consistent. On another day against a better team, that may have cost them dearly.
Fortunately for the hosts, their star players made the most of the opportunity to bat first on what was a good wicket. There was a time, during the first 10 overs, where the Proteas looked as if they may post 230 or 240. In the end, a total of 195 was more than sufficient in a contest against a limited Bangladesh side.
Quinton de Kock and AB de Villiers set the platform for the hosts with a partnership of 79 for the second wicket. De Villiers punished some wayward bowling by the Bangladesh seamers. It was only when the spinners were introduced that the Tigers managed to stem the flow of runs.
The Proteas lost momentum following De Villiers’ dismissal (for 49 off 27 balls). De Kock reached his 50 off 35 balls, but was out lbw not long after that.
David Miller and Farhaan Behardien did well to lift the scoring rate, and ensure that the Proteas finished their innings in the region of 200. That rearguard effort meant that the Tigers would have to score at around 10 runs per over to win the game.
Soumya Sarkar led the charge as the Tigers scored 55 runs in the Powerplay. They were very much in the contest at 92-2 after nine overs.
The Proteas had not bowled particularly well up to that point. The inexperience of Dane Paterson and Beuran Hendricks, as well as debutant Robbie Frylinck, was brutally exposed on a flat wicket.
Fortunately for the hosts, Andile Phehlukwayo stepped up to make the key breakthrough. Sarkar charged at a full-ish delivery, missed, and was struck on the pads.
The umpire felt that the ball was missing the stumps. Phehlukwayo and stand-in captain JP Duminy felt otherwise. The review showed that the ball was indeed going to hit the wicket.
The asking run-rate started to climb. Mushfiqur Rahim attempted to hit Aaron Phangiso out of the ground, but succeeded only in finding De Villiers on the fence. Phehlukwayo continued to apply the pressure, and was rewarded with his second wicket when Mahmudullah played across the line and was caught on the off-side.
Bangladesh went into the final five overs needing 63 runs for victory. It was always going to be a big ask, given that their best batsmen were already back in the hut.
The Proteas will be favourites to win the next clash in Potchefstroom and win the series. That said, the bowlers as a unit should be aiming for a more consistent display.
SA 195-4 (20 overs) – Quinton de Kock 59, AB de Villiers 49, Farhaan Behardien 36 not out, Mehedi Hasan 2-31
Bangladesh 175-9 (20 overs) – Soumya Sarkar 47, Andile Phehlukwayo 2-25, Dane Paterson 2-29
South Africa won by 20 runs
Photo: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix