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SA beat Windies to secure semifinal spot in T20 WC thriller

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Antigua: In classic fashion, the Proteas navigated a nail-biter at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, advancing to the knockout stages with an unblemished record on Monday India time.

South Africa edged out a resilient West Indies team, clinching victory with five balls to spare despite a dwindling lineup.

The Proteas largely dominated the must-win clash from the start, choosing to field first at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. Aiden Markram gave Marco Jansen the new ball, and Jansen delivered immediately, dismissing Shai Hope for a first-ball duck. Markram then tempted Nicholas Pooran into a mistimed shot, well-caught by Jansen.

Jansen nearly had a second wicket, but Anrich Nortje dropped a tough catch off Roston Chase. Chase capitalised on this chance, partnering with Kyle Mayers to rally during the Powerplay. By the six-over mark, the West Indies had reached 47/2, capped by a six from Mayers.

A costly collision between Jansen and Kagiso Rabada on the boundary in the eighth over halted play and saw Jansen leave the field for assessment. Despite this, Mayers and Chase pushed the score to 62/2 off 10 overs, shifting momentum to the hosts.

However, Mayers’ departure for 35 off 34 balls at the end of the 12th over triggered a collapse. Rovman Powell and Sherfane Rutherford fell in quick succession, and Tabraiz Shamsi’s dismissal of Chase (52 off 42) in the 16th over further tightened South Africa’s grip.

Andre Russell’s two sixes in the 17th over briefly lifted the West Indies, but he was run out by Nortje shortly after. Rabada, testing his fitness post-collision, bowled a sharp caught-and-bowled to remove Akeal Hosein in the 18th over. Late runs from Alzarri Joseph helped the West Indies to 135/8 on a decent surface.

Quinton de Kock began South Africa’s chase aggressively, possibly wary of approaching weather. Andre Russell struck early, removing Reeza Hendricks and de Kock in the second over. A rain delay adjusted the target to 123 off 17 overs, with South Africa reaching 41/2 after five overs.

Alzarri Joseph’s second-ball strike removed Markram, giving the hosts hope. However, an expensive over from Gudakesh Motie, where Tristan Stubbs hit four boundaries, tilted the balance back. Although Joseph later dismissed Klaasen (22 off 10) and Stubbs fell for 29 off 27, South Africa managed to stay ahead.

With the match finely poised at 13 required from 12 balls, Jansen and Rabada, the earlier collision pair, found themselves at the crease. A boundary reduced the equation to five off six. Jansen then sealed the victory with a six off the first ball of the final over, ensuring a South African win with five balls to spare.

Despite a challenging chase, South Africa’s final shot was emphatic, maintaining their unbeaten streak and securing a place in the semifinals.

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