South Africa overcome gutsy Bangladesh
South Africa wriggled off the hook to beat Bangladesh by 12 runs in their Standard Bank Pro20 international at Liberty Life Wanderers in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
The minnows nearly staged an impressive coup in the opening match of their tour as they restricted South Africa to 118 for seven in their 14 overs and then fell narrowly short of their Duckworth/Lewis adjusted target of 122, eventually finishing on 109 for eight.
But at one stage they were cruising, racing to 56 for one in five overs. That was when South African captain Johan Botha brought himself on and once again showed his knack of taking important wickets.
Not only did the off-spinner remove Bangladesh's two top scorers - opener Tamim Iqbal for 25 and captain Mohammad Ashraful for 21 - but the visitors could only eke out 15 runs from his three overs.
Rory Kleinveldt made the first breakthrough as he claimed a wicket with his first ball in international cricket - Junaid Siddique caught behind for four. But the Western Province all-rounder went on to leak a prohibitive 20 runs from his only over with Ashraful showing a top-class range of strokes as he raced to a ten-ball 21.
But Botha surprised both Ashraful, bowled through the gate, and Tamim, stumped, with his turn although South Africa were still in scary territory as Bangladesh reached 85 for five after nine overs.
Naeem Islam (15) and Mushfiqir Rahim (12) edged Bangladesh to 97 for six after 11 overs, which was when new-ball bowlers Johann Louw and Dale Steyn settled the issue with a pair of outstanding overs.
Bangladesh also committed the sin of losing two batsmen to stupid run outs - the dangerous Shakib al-Hasan (4) and Mushfiqir - and, after Louw conceded just three runs in the 12th over and Steyn took two for two in the next, the visitors would go into Louw's final over needing an unlikely 19 runs.
Steyn looked in fine form as he took two for 18 in his three overs and Louw came back superbly to also concede just 18 runs in his ration.
South Africa's batsmen earlier seemed ill-prepared for the Bangladesh spinners as they struggled to 118 for seven in their 14 overs.
But there was little they could do about the two weather interruptions that hampered them as well. After 7.3 overs, lightning forced the players from the field and, after a half-hour delay, they returned only for rain to drive them off after just two deliveries.
South Africa had been going well in the pre-storm overs, reaching 71 for two before the first interruption, but they then paid the price for going too hard too soon against left-arm spinners Abdur Razzak and Shakib al-Hasan, no doubt flustered by the fact their innings had been reduced to just 14 overs.
The final stage of the South African innings would see five wickets tumble for 46 runs in 6.1 overs, which was a far cry from the start of their innings, when Loots Bosman and Herschelle Gibbs had the home crowd cheering.
The openers put on 43 off 25 balls with Gibbs getting the ball rolling after two tight overs as he hit four fours off five balls in Syed Rasel's second over. Gibbs eventually rattled his own stumps off the inside edge, trying to drive Rasel on the up well outside off stump, having scored 18 off ten balls.
That was Bosman's cue to get into gear and he smashed four fours and a six in scoring a thrilling 28 off 18 balls, but the introduction of Razzak in the sixth over was a telling moment.
He had Bosman caught at deep extra cover as just five runs came from his first over, which was pre the rain interruptions.
AB de Villiers was dropped the ball after the first delay, but Justin Ontong (six) paid the price for trying an over-ambitious sweep shot the first ball after the second interruption, caught at deep square-leg off Razzak.
The much-vaunted hitting power of the middle-order proved phoney as JP Duminy (six), Albie Morkel (six) and Botha (one) all fell cheaply.
De Villiers, however, stayed until the last over and, although he only scored two fours and a six, he generally showed astute judgement of the angles on the field as he scored 36 off 26 balls.
Razzak, giving the ball a bit of air and using dip and changes in pace brilliantly, joined India's Rudra Pratap Singh as the only bowler to take four wickets in a Pro20 match against South Africa.
Razzak finished with four for 16 and Shakib took two for 21 in a lousy batting display by South Africa.