Cricket

Nepal Vs South Africa: Proteas Win Nailbiter By 1 Run; NEP Out Of Super Eight Reckoning

Nepal restricted South Africa to a 115-run total, and their batters put up a spirited chase but ended up with one run short in a heart-breaking finish that knocked them out of T20 World Cup 2024

Nepal vs South Africa, T20 World Cup 2024, match 31, Cricket Nep Twitter
Nepal came extremely close to registering their maiden international victory against a Test-playing nation, losing to South Africa in their T20 World Cup 2024 clash. Photo: X/CricketNep
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Kingstown was nearly witness to a historic moment in Nepal cricket, as Rohit Paudel's men came agonizingly close to registering their first-ever international victory against a Test-playing nation, before falling short by a solitary run. The sub-continental side lost to South Africa by the barest of margins in au utterly thrilling T20 World Cup 2024 encounter on Saturday (June 15) to crash out of Super Eight reckoning. (Highlights | Scorecard | Full Coverage)

Nepal's spinners produced a splendid performance to restrict the mighty South African batting to a 115-run total. Their batters then put up a spirited chase, before ending up with 114 for seven in a heart-breaking finish for them.

The match went right down to the wire. Nepal looked in control of the chase for the majority of the innings, but Tabraiz Shamsi showed his class in the middle overs with a fantastic four-wicket haul (4-19 in four overs).

The equation got tougher for Nepal, but they fought back with a vengeance as Sompal Kami smacked the fiery Anrich Nortje for a towering six and Paudel's side needed eight off the final over, which was bowled by Ottneil Baartman.

Gulsan Jha took Nepal to within two runs off a win. But he missed the last ball, and scampered through for a bye. Quinton de Kock threw it at the non-striker's end, but the throw hit Jha on the back. The ricochet went to Heinrich Klaasen, who threw down the stumps. Jha fell just short of his mark, and Nepal lost the cliffhanger.

In a match that saw 13 out of 14 wickets to fall being picked up by spinners, the duo of Kushal Bhurtel (4-19 in four overs) and Dipendra Singh Airee (3-21 in four overs) together accounted for seven Proteas scalps. They were ably supported by returning leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane (0-18 in four overs), who turned the ball big and made run-scoring treacherous.

Lamichhane made his way back into the side after a long gap. The former skipper was denied a visa to the United States, but landed in the Caribbean and made a lasting impression in Nepal's first outing in the West Indies.

Earlier, Nepal captain Rohit Paudel won the toss and decided to bowl first. It was a do-or-die clash for the team, as far as Super 8 qualification was concerned. But their hopes went up in smoke, as Nepal now have one point from three games and will head back home after the group stage.

South Africa, on the other hand, had already qualified for the next round of the competition on the back of three consecutive wins, and finished with a perfect four-on-four record in the group stage.

Playing XIs

Nepal: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Karim Janat, Rashid Khan (c), Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi.

South Africa: Kushal Bhurtel, Aasif Sheikh (wk), Anil Sah, Rohit Paudel (c), Kushal Malla, Dipendra Singh Airee, Gulsan Jha, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Sandeep Lamichhane, Abinash Bohara.

Nepal will next face Bangladesh in Kingstown on June 16, and South Africa will head to the Super 8 stage as the game against Nepal was their last group-stage match.

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