South Africa Defeats Nepal by One Run in Thrilling T20 Encounter

Heartbreak for Nepal as Shamsi Scripts Stunning Turnaround

In a heart-stopping encounter at Kingstown, Nepal fell agonisingly short by just one run against South Africa, ending their hopes of advancing to the Super Eight stage of the T20 World Cup 2024. Fans and players were left in tears as South Africa secured a clean sweep in the group stage, winning all four matches. The hero of the day was Tabraiz Shamsi, whose 4 for 19, including a pivotal 18th over, turned the tide in favour of South Africa.

Nepal’s Dominance with the Ball

Nepal appeared to have the upper hand for much of the match. Their spinners performed superbly, restricting South Africa to a modest 115 for 7 on a tricky, turning pitch. Kushal Bhurtel’s exceptional 4 for 19 and Dipendra Singh Airee’s 3 for 21 left South Africa struggling. South Africa’s cautious start saw them at 38 for 1 during the powerplay, their best of the tournament, but their conservative approach ultimately cost them. Nepal’s disciplined bowling kept the pressure on, with spin accounting for 14 overs of their attack.

Nepal’s Steady Chase

In response, Nepal’s innings started promisingly. A dropped catch by Kagiso Rabada provided an early reprieve, allowing Nepal to reach 32 without loss by the end of the powerplay. Aasif Sheikh and Anil Sah then began to accelerate, with Sah hitting boundaries off Anrich Nortje and Aasif smashing a six off Shamsi. The duo’s fifty partnership came off just 36 balls, bringing Nepal within reach of victory.

Shamsi’s Decisive Over

The match’s turning point came in the 18th over when Shamsi, replacing Keshav Maharaj, took two crucial wickets. Airee’s feather touch to Quinton de Kock was initially reviewed but upheld, and Aasif was bowled by a perfect delivery from Shamsi. By the end of the over, Nepal needed 16 off 12 balls, a challenging yet achievable target.

Baartman’s Composure Seals the Win

Anrich Nortje bowled a brilliant penultimate over, taking Kushal Malla’s wicket and leaving Nepal needing 16 off the last eight balls. Sompal Kami’s 105-metre six and a boundary from Gulsan Jha brought the equation down to four runs off three balls, sparking hope among Nepal’s fans. However, Ottneil Baartman held his nerve, delivering two perfectly executed slower bouncers. A desperate attempt at a run on the final ball ended with Jha being run out, sealing a dramatic victory for South Africa.

Nepal’s valiant effort was not enough to overcome Shamsi’s masterclass and Baartman’s composure under pressure. Despite their elimination, Nepal’s performance throughout the tournament earned them admiration and respect from cricket fans worldwide.

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