Clinical Win Gives South Africa First Points

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Clinical win gives South Africa first points. The bowlers hunted in a pack to keep West Indies down to 143.

Clinical Win Gives South Africa First PointsThe bowlers hunted in a pack to keep West Indies down to 143.

The bowlers starred before Aiden Markram led South Africa to a comprehensive win over West Indies, opening the Proteas' account in the T20 WC. South Africa kept West Indies down to 143/8 and then chased down the target with eight wickets and 10 balls to spare.

Both teams came into the clash after losing their tournament openers but South Africa put up a clinical performance in Dubai to beat the defending champions by eight wickets on Tuesday (October 26), despite Quinton de Kock's absence at the top of the order.

The defeat left the defending champions placed precariously, having lost both their opening encounters.

Why was De Kock unavailable today?

He pulled out last minute from the clash in the wake of CSA's board saying they had “unanimously agreed to issue a directive” that all players should take the knee before matches. More on that here.

How good was Reeza Hendricks, who replaced de Kock at the top?

Superb! Despite South Africa not having had the best of starts losing skipper Temba Bavuma in the first over, Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen steadied the innings with a solid fifty-run stand. Hendricks looked comfortable both against spin and pace alike, while his partner playing the perfect anchor role. They took very few risks and kept the scoreboard ticking. They got the odd boundaries and kept up with the required rate. He was going along well before Shimron Hetmyer plucked a stunning catch in the deep catching the ball just centimetres above the ground to break the 57-run stand.

It was a comfortable chase thereafter…

…given that Aiden Markram was striking the ball beautifully. Van der Dussen took a backseat in the 83-run stand off just 54 balls as Markram attacked West Indies' bowlers from the onset. He milked the leg side, punishing the slot balls and even the good length ones, waiting in the crease to dispatch them in the midwicket region. Whenever West Indies were asking questions, Markram put South Africa ahead. He powered through to the quickest fifty so far off just 25 balls, with van der Dussen on 43 when the winning runs were scored with 10 balls to spare.

West Indies had only 6 on the board after 3 overs. How did they then have 43 at the end of the Powerplay?

A change in bat brought runs for Evin Lewis, who took on the bowlers after a slow start after West Indies were asked to bat. He first smashed Kagiso Rabada for a four and six before going after Aiden Markram in the next for two sixes and a four to get a move on. Lendl Simmons's struggles at the other end were palpable as the opener couldn't get a run easily. He was handed a life even when on 4 off 13 after Henrich Klaasen dropped an edge behind the stumps.

Could Simmons get out of the rut?

No; in fact, only slipped deeper into it. Meanwhile, after having scored 1 in 9 balls, Lewis cruised to a half-century in 32 balls. Lewis couldn't carry on, falling to Keshav Maharaj after having pulled to deep midwicket for 56 off 35 with six sixes and three fours. Nicholas Pooran was promoted to No.3 to get quick runs, but his stay was short-lived, departing after back-to-back boundaries. Simmons fell in the next over as South Africa's bowlers continued to attack. Simmons finally fell to a slower ball for 16 runs that cost the side 35 balls.

Despite the power-hitters, West Indies finished with a below-par total

Gayle couldn't get going, before he fell for a run-a-ball 12, Andre Russell was knocked over by Anrich Nortje, who bowled beautifully, and Shimron Hetmyer was run out as West Indies lost wickets in a pile. Pollard vs spin in death was a big risk that South Africa took, but he didn't cause too much damage falling for a tame 26. South Africa's bowlers were superb with their variations, mixing it up well and inventive with their field placings. They had a man straight back behind the bowler for Pollard and Russell and even had the plan work as skipper was caught by van der Dussen in the final over.

Brief scores: West Indies 143/8 in 20 overs (Evin Lewis 56, Kieron Pollard 26; Keshav Maharaj 2-24, Dwaine Pretorius 3-17) lost to South Africa 144/2 in 18.2 overs (Reeza Hendricks 39, Rassie van der Dussen 43*, Aiden Markram 51*) by eight wickets.

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