Joy for Proteas, heartbreak for Nepal in final ball thriller

football15 June 2024 03:34| © MWP
By:Ross Roche
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Proteas © Getty Images

It was unbridled joy for the Proteas and absolute heartbreak for Nepal as the South Asian minnows fell just one run short of a historic win in their T20 World Cup pool match at the Arnos Vale Stadium in Kingstown, St Vincent on Saturday morning (South African time).

Nepal had never beaten a full member Test playing nation in 12 previous T20 games, but almost broke that duck in their 13th as they won the toss, sent the Proteas into bat, restricted them to 115/7 and then saw a run out off the last ball of their innings to fall short on 114/7 in reply.

It was another stunning comeback from the Proteas bowlers that preserved their unbeaten run in the tournament and saw them finish the pool stage top of group D with four wins from four.

However, it seemed like Nepal had done enough to break the bat of the chase when, after 13 overs, they were 82/2, requiring 34 off the last 42 balls to break South Africa's winning streak.

The turnaround came in the 18th over with Nepal needing 18 off 18 balls when, man-of-the-match, Tabraiz Shamsi picked up two wickets to take Nepal from 98-3 to 100-5. 

Shamsi claimed the wickets of Dipendra Airee (6), caught down the leg side by keeper Quinton de Kock, and Aasif Sheikh bowled for 42 off 49 balls off his last ball. The over going for just 2 runs.

“We are definitely relieved. We came here with a goal of finishing this stage of the tournament with four wins out of four, so it was a little closer than we wanted it to be, but the team is standing up to the pressure which is amazing to see,” said Shamsi.

“Nepal was brilliant. They utilised the conditions brilliantly. I did think the wicket got better (to bat on) in the second innings, but they took full advantage and they played a beautiful game.”


Anrich Nortje came on to bowl the penultimate over and although he bowled Kushal Malla (1) with a ball that clipped the top of middle stump, his last two deliveries saw Sompal Kami (8*) pull him for a huge six and clip a two, making it eight needed off the final over.

Ottniel Baartman was tasked with the last over of the match. He started with two dot balls and was then hit for a four and a two by Gulsan Jha (6), leaving Nepal needing two off two. Baartman bowled two short deliveries, which Gulsan couldn't make contact with, but on the final ball the batsmen attempted a quick single to force a Super Over, however Gulsan came short and was run out by Heinrich Klaasen at the non-strikers end bringing the match to a breathless end.

Earlier in the Nepal innings Anil Sah, 27 off 24, and Sheikh got their side close to a famous win with a 50-run third wicket stand.

Sheikh was dropped in the second over by Kagiso Rabada off his own bowling, which allowed them to reach 32/0 by the end of the powerplay.

Shamsi then struck twice in his first over, bowling Kushal Bhurtel (13) and Rohit Paudel for a second ball duck, as they slipped to 35/2 in the eighth.

After reaching the halfway mark on 48/2, Sah took centre stage and along with Sheikh they clubbed 34 runs off the three overs to get them into a great position.

However, Markram brought himself into the attack in the 14th over and crucially dismissed Sah, caught by a tumbling Marco Jansen, which led to the thrilling finish to the match.

Proteas captain Aiden Markram was extremely relieved with the result but said that his team would have plenty to work on over the coming days as they prepare for the Super 8 stage of the competition.

“We are obviously grateful to have got the win, we weren’t anywhere near our best tonight and I think for large parts of the game we thought we wouldn’t be on the right side of the result,” admitted Markram.

“So we are grateful to get the victory, but reflecting back on the game over the next couple of days there will be a lot of learnings for us.”


In the first innings the Proteas dismal batting form in the T20 World Cup continued as they battled their way to a below par 115/7.

Reeza Hendricks managed to scratch his way to 43 off 49 balls (5x4, 1x6), while Tristan Stubbs (27*), Markram (15) and De Kock (10) were the only other batters to make double figures.

Stubbs struck two fours and a six in his unbeaten 18-ball 27 to give the Proteas total a slight bump at the end of their innings, but Nepal would have been delighted with their bowling effort.

It was the spinners that were in terrific form with Bhurtel claiming fantastic figures of 4/19 in his four overs, while Dipendra Airee picked up 3/21 in his four, as they took all of the wickets.

SOUTH AFRICA: Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Aisen Markram (capt), Tristan Stubbs, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Ottneil Baartman, Tabraiz Shamsi

NEPAL: Kushal Bhurtel, Aasif Sheikh (wk), 3 Anil Sah, Rohit Paudel (capt), Kushal Malla, Dipendra Singh Airee, Sompal Kami, Gulshan Jha, Karan KC, Sandeep Lamichhane, Abinash Bohara