South Africa survives a scare

Quinton de Kock top-scored for South Africa with a sublime 74 from 40 balls.

USA puts up a gallant fight before going down to Proteas by 18 runs

By Prabhjot Singh

Giant killers of the group matches, and one of the hosts of the T20 World Cup, USA put up a magnificent fight before bowing down by 18 runs to South Africa in the first game of the Super 8.
Comprising mostly of players of South Asian and West Indian descent, the USA is also identified as “Mini India“. Allrounder Harmeet Singh (2/24 and 38) justified the confidence put in the Diaspora.
Responding to a massive challenge of scoring 195 against formidable Proteas, USA came close needing just 28 from 12 balls. But it was experienced Kagiso Rabada, the most successful South African bowler, who just conceded 2 runs in his 19th wicket besides breaking the 91-run partnership between Andries Gous and Harmeet Singh.
Once Harmeet was gone, the game swung back in the favor of Proteas. In the final and 20th over, Anrich Nortje bowled well to concede just seven to end the gallant fight of the Americans, who had earlier in the group matches, caused a major flutter by defeating Pakistan by five runs in the Super over.
After slipping to 76-5 in pursuit of 195, a superb partnership worth 91 between Andries Gous and Harmeet Singh gave USA hope of a stunning victory. The hero of the American fightback was its wicketkeeper-batsman Andries Gous who not only remained unbeaten on 80 made from 47 balls but also had a fruitful partnership with Harmeet Singh, who had earlier impressive figures of 2/24, claiming wickets on successive balls. Harmeet Singh was a member of the WC U-19 champion Indian team before migrating to the USA.
The USA lost its star batter and captain Aaron Jones for a blob when Keshav Maharaj, a player of South Asian descent, had him caught by de Cock.
Earlier, Steven Taylor and Andries Gous gave the US a good start putting up 33 runs in just 3.3 overs. They suffered a reverse when Nitish Kumar left at 53 with his score of 8, including a hit to the maximum. Cory Anderson, originally from New Zealand, too, could not last long and was out for 12 making US 71/4. When Jahangir fell for 3, the US were struggling at 76 for 5.
At this stage, Harmeet joined Andries Gous and the two went about repairing the damaged innings with some solid hitting. They took the total past the 150 mark. Sat the end of the 18th over, the US needed just 28 from 12 balls but the 19th over from Kagiso Rabada went for just two runs and included the wicket of Harmeet to drag the game back in South Africa’s favor.
The final over from Anrich Nortje went for just seven as South Africa held on for the win.
Gous ended unbeaten on 80 after a brilliant knock that included five fours and five sixes, while Rabada was the pick of the Proteas bowlers taking 3-18.
Quinton de Kock earlier top-scored for South Africa with a sublime 74 from 40 balls, seven fours and five sixes. Quinton de Kock was declared man of the match.
Skipper Aiden Markram added a lively 46 from 32 balls and Heinrich Klassen 36 from 22 as South Africa posted 194-4 – their highest tournament score so far.

(Prabhjot Singh is a senior journalist. He writes with equal aplomb on sports and politics. He can be reached at

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