NAGPUR, India, CMC – West Indies nearly made a mess of a simple run chase but recovered in time to pull off a nervy three-wicket win over South Africa with two balls to spare, and romp into the semi-finals of the Twenty20 World Cup here Friday.
In pursuit of an uncomplicated target of 123 on a slow pitch at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, West Indies were propelled by Man-of-the-Match Marlon Samuels who top-scored with a vital 43 from 44 deliveries while opener Johnson Charles stroked 32 from 35 balls.
Starting the final over with nine required for victory, West Indies were left sweating when Carlos Brathwaite (10 not out) was kept scoreless by 20-year-old seamer Kagiso Rabada off the first ball.
However, Brathwaite cleared the ropes at wide long on with the second delivery before a wide and then a single, ensured the scores were level with three balls remaining.
Denesh Ramdin, batting at number nine, then steered the fourth delivery and his first to short third man where Hashim Amla dropped a sharp chance jumping high to his right, earning a single to take West Indies to their third straight win and keeping them unbeaten in the tournament.
They sit top of Group 1 on six points, two clear of second placed England who face Sri Lanka – fourth on two points – on Saturday. Sri Lanka are third on two points and an England victory will eliminate them.
Sent in earlier, South Africa were floundering at 47 for five in the ninth over before opener Quinton de Kock top-scored with 47 from 46 deliveries and David Wiese chipped in with 28 from 26 balls, to rescue the innings.
Chris Gayle was the unlikeliest of bowling heroes with his off-spin, claiming two for 17 from his three overs while seamers Dwayne Bravo (2-20) and Andre Russell (2-28) also chimed in with two wickets apiece.
West Indies struck a key blow off the third ball of the game when Amla (1) gambled on an ill-advised single with de Kock but failed to beat Russell’s throw from point to wicketkeeper Ramdin.
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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