by Rex Clementine
South Africa is like a cricket’s talent factory. Not only do they produce some quality players for themselves but South Africans have gone on to represent other cricketing strongholds like England, Australia and New Zealand. That’s the full members of the ICC. If you take the associate nations, there are South African talents exhibiting their skills in places like Netherlands, Namibia and the United States.
Yet, when it comes to ICC events South Africa have been very disappointing. They have hardly played to their potential. But this World Cup they have been clinical. They have been unbeaten so far making you wonder whether this is the campaign where they make an impact.
They are one win away from making it to the semis of World Cup as they recorded the first win in the Super Eight stage beating United States in Antigua. Since making it to the semi-finals of the T-20 World Cup ten years ago, they have never reached the last four. Their campaigns in 2016, 2021 and 2022 all have ended in disappointment despite starting those events as leading contenders.
Quinton de Kock has had a quiet tournament but on Wednesday he showcased what he’s capable of posting 74 off 40 balls with seven fours and five sixes.
The six overs of Power Play produced 64 runs for the Proteas. Although, US bowlers pulled things back Heinrich Klaasen and Tristan Stubbs with a 53 run unbroken stand for the fifth wicket ensured that South Africa ended up with 194.
During the run chase, US opener Andries Gous came up with an entertaining knock and the co-hosts were in the run until the penultimate over of the innings. The South African born Gous finished 80 not out that came off 47 balls with five fours and five sixes.
Gous and Harmeet Singh added 89 runs for the sixth wicket and a shock USA win looked possible when 22 runs were scored off the 18 over bowled by left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.
That meant USA needed 28 runs in the last two overs. But Kagiso Rabada sent down the 19th over giving away just two runs and it was match over USA from there on.
Then Anrich Nortje cleaned things up with a miserly last over. In the process Nortje claimed his 30th wicket in T-20 World Cups, equaling Dale Steyn’s record.