Silly-error cancers cost SA dearly
The cancers of lacklustre batting and a host of extras conceded by the bowlers cost South Africa dearly as they lost by three wickets to Bangladesh in their T20 match at Harare Sports Club on Friday.
South Africa batted poorly to post just 129 for seven, Bangladesh getting to their target with a ball to spare as all-rounders Mahmudullah (28) and Ziaur Rahman (27*) finished the job after a strong platform was laid up front by Mohammad Ashraful (40).
South Africa's bowlers contrived to concede eight wides and two no-balls, as well as 10 leg-byes because of leg-side bowling. One of the no-balls cost the vital wicket of Ziaur when he was bowled by Parnell on 11 in the 17th over.
The tourists also dropped two catches, with Farhaan Behardien dropping Ziaur on the boundary, also when he had 11, and Marchant de Lange spilling a tougher boundary chance from Ashraful on 34.
Marchant de Lange removed Junaid Siddique for five, slicing a catch to third man, in the second over, but an awful second over from the fast bowler gave vital momemtum to Bangladesh.
It's certainly breathless stuff when De Lange is in action and he started the fourth over of the innings with two wide bouncers down leg, a third wide bouncer which was called a no-ball for height, and then his fourth delivery was also a leg-side wide. Anamul Haque then clipped a four through midwicket, but a brilliant, fast yorker then trapped him lbw for four. Ashraful then ended the shambolic over with successive boundaries, the first via a magnificent cover-drive.
Ashraful continued to play some amazing strokes as he dominated a third-wicket stand of 41 before Wayne Parnell breathed new life into South Africa's chances by taking two wickets in the ninth over.
Flapping at bouncers proved the undoing of Mushfiqur Rahim (7) and Nasir Hossain (0) and Ashraful, whose tendency to give his wicket away at crucial times is rapidly becoming a chronic disease, then holed out on Albie Morkel's second ball in the 13th over.
But Mahmudullah and Ziaur then combined to take Bangladesh to the brink of victory as they added 40 in 5.5 overs before De Lange bowled a superb penultimate over, removing Mahmudullah and conceding just three runs, two of them leg-byes, to give South Africa a slim chance.
Bangladesh needed just three runs off Chris Morris's final over to win and great stops by Behardien and Colin Ingram, plus the wicket of Farhad Reza for a single, kept them to just a single off the first four balls. But Ziaur then sliced a low full toss to the backward point boundary to clinch victory and give Bangladesh entry to Sunday's final.
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A poor batting display by South Africa had earlier seen them struggle to 129 for seven.
There was precious little by way of free strokeplay by the South Africans as the effects of a slow pitch, excellent Bangladesh bowling and enthusiastic fielding strangled them.
South Africa had won the toss and batted first, but were off to a poor start as they slumped to 34 for three in the seventh over.
Faf du Plessis (13) tried to heave left-arm spinner Elias Sunny on the leg side, but skewed the ball over wide mid-on, Ziaur Rahman back-pedalling and taking a good lunging catch.
Colin Ingram scored just a single before he chipped a return catch to off-spinner Mahmudullah and South Africa then lost the wicket of Hashim Amla in disastrous fashion, the captain being run out as Justin Ontong pushed Sunny square on the off-side and thought about a quick single before sending his partner back too late. Nasir Hossain scored a super direct hit and Amla was out for 20, which came off 19 balls and included two boundaries through the covers.
Ontong and Farhaan Behardien added 56 for the fourth wicket, but it was not at a healthy run-rate, the runs coming off 58 balls, leaving the lower-order under more pressure when the partnership was broken with just four overs remaining and the total just 90.
Ontong's 41 off 36 balls was a good contribution, but the hazards of the pitch even had him subdued, despite all his experience of playing on the similar Paarl pitch for the Western Cape Cobras.
Ontong fell in disappointing fashion, charging down the pitch and missing a heave at Ziaur, wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim, who set the tone for an impressive fielding effort, completing a sharp stumping standing up to the medium-pacer.
Behardien, Albie Morkel and Chris Morris are all dangerous hitters but they all frittered away their wickets in the closing overs.
Behardien was caught behind off the impressive Sunny for 16 off 26 balls, while Morkel (12) picked up a well-struck six before holing out off Mashrafe Mortaza.
While Bangladesh brought intensity to their fielding, South Africa's running between the wickets was poor and Morris could face just one ball, without getting off the mark, before he ran himself out charging down the pitch for a non-existent second run. Sunny was the fielder, adding a run out to his superb bowling figures of 2-21 in four overs.
Dane Vilas (8*) and a typically useful late cameo from Robin Peterson (11* off six) provided the finishing touches to an innings that was an uphill struggle all the way.
While Sunny was the best of the bowlers, fellow spinner Abdur Razzak (4-0-17-0) and Mahmudullah (3-0-18-1) were also impressive, while just 15 runs came from the three combined overs of medium-pacers Farhad Reza (2-0-8-0) and Ziaur (1-0-7-1).
It required a brilliant effort in the field from South Africa for them to pull this game out of the fire, but the bowlers were wayward and South Africa now have to beat Zimbabwe on Saturday to make it into the final.
SOUTH AFRICA - Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, Farhaan Behardien, Justin Ontong, Dane Vilas, Albie Morkel, Chris Morris, Robin Peterson, Wayne Parnell, Marchant de Lange.
BANGLADESH - Junaid Siddique, Anamul Haque, Mohammad Ashraful, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmud Ul-lah, Nasir Hossain, Farhad Reza, Ziaur Rahman, Mashrafe Mortaza, Abdur Razzak, Elias Sunny.