South Africa registered their first win of the T20 World Cup
with a dominant performance against the West Indies despite the absence of
their star batter Quinton de Kock. The left-hander pulled out of the match due
to personal reasons following a directive from CSA that required the team to
collectively take a knee before the match. However, despite the turmoil, the
Proteas bowlers did an excellent job in restricting the West Indies to 143 in
the first innings before a stunning half-century from Aiden Markram comfortably
took them over the line with 10 balls to spare.
This defeat leaves the defending champions West Indies on
the verge of elimination from the Super 12 stage after only two matches, with
Kieron Pollard’s side hoping for a miracle to finish in the top two in Group A.
After being put in to bat, the Men in Maroon started the
innings cautiously. Lewis and Simmons scored only six runs off the first three
overs of the powerplay, but the left-hander cut loose after a slow start,
smashing two fours and three sixes in the next two overs. Lewis raced to a
32-ball half-century before falling for 56, but Simmons’ struggles at the other
end continued. The right-hander couldn’t find any timing and was eventually
dismissed for what turned out to be a match-losing innings of 16 from 35 balls.
After a solid 73-run opening partnership, the West Indies
threatened to take the game away from South Africa with their deep batting
line-up, but were restricted by a commendable death bowling performance from
the Proteas. Dwayne Pretorius picked up three wickets in his final two overs,
while Anrich Nortje uprooted Andre Russell with a searing yorker as West Indies
only managed 22 runs off the last 19 deliveries to finish with 143.
In the run-chase, Reeza Hendricks shone as Quinton de Kock’s
understudy, helping South Africa put on 42 in the powerplay and sharing a brisk
half-century partnership with Rassie van der Dussen. Hendrick’s charge was
stopped by a superb low diving catch by Shimron Hetmyer, but his replacement –
Aiden Markram – played a blinding knock that sealed South Africa’s victory.
Markram was proactive at the crease and ran excellently between the wickets
while also showing great intent in his new middle-order position, smashing
Hayden Walsh, Kieron Pollard and Ravi Rampaul for towering sixes.
Markram raced to the fastest fifty of the competition – of
only 25 deliveries – and shared an 83-run stand of only 52 deliveries alongside
van der Dussen to take South Africa home and give them their first win of the