Nepal Falls Short by One Run in T20 World Cup 2024 Thriller

Nepal Falls Short by One Run in T20 World Cup 2024 Thriller

South Africa defeated Nepal by just one run in the T20 World Cup 2024 group stage match played in Kingstown. The game was full of dramatic turns and nerve-jangling suspense. This thrilling encounter showcased the unpredictable nature of T20 cricket and marked the end of Nepal’s journey in the tournament. South Africa’s clean sweep of the group stage with a 4-0 record solidifies their position as a formidable team moving into the Super Eight.

Match Summary

South Africa                                                                                           115/7 (20)

Reeza Hendricks
43 (49)

Kushal Bhurtel
4/19 (4)

Tristan Stubbs
27 (18)

Dipendra Singh Airee
3/21 (4)

Aiden Markram
15 (22)

Sompal Kami
0/6 (2)

Nepal                                                                                                       114/7 (20)

Aasif Sheikh

42 (49)

Tabraiz Shamsi
4/19 (4)

Anil Kumar Sah

27 (24)

Aiden Markram
1/8 (20)

Kushal Bhurtel

13 (21)

Anrich Nortje
1/27 (4)

Toss: Nepal won the throw and decided to bowl
Stadium: Arnos Vale Stadium
Result: South Africa won by one run
Player of the Match: Tabraiz Shamsi – 4/19 (4)

The Stage is Set Pre-Match Expectations

South Africa’s Campaign So Far

South Africa entered the match confidently, winning all their previous group-stage matches. Their strategy revolved around disciplined bowling and cautious batting, aiming to adapt to the varying pitch conditions they faced throughout the tournament.

Nepal’s Journey

On the other hand, Nepal had shown flashes of brilliance in the tournament but faced a must-win situation against South Africa to keep their Super Eight hopes alive. Their reliance on spin bowling and a few key batting performances had kept them competitive, making this encounter a crucial test of their mettle.

South Africa’s Innings A Spin Web Unraveled

Early Caution

South Africa, electing to bat first, approached the innings with caution. Their start was steady but lacked the aggressive intent needed to fully capitalize on the powerplay overs. Reeza Hendricks, anchoring the innings with 43 runs off 49 balls, struggled to accelerate as Nepal’s bowlers maintained tight lines.

Spin Dominance

The introduction of spin changed the dynamics of the game. Sandeep Lamichhane, returning to the side, bowled a probing spell despite not taking any wickets. His control set the stage for Dipendra Singh Airee and Kushal Bhurtel to exploit the turning track. Airee’s 3 for 21 and Bhurtel’s 4 for 19 dismantled the South African batting lineup, limiting them to 115 for 7 in 20 overs.

Nepal’s Chase A Tale of Agony and Ecstasy

Steady Start

Chasing a modest total, Nepal began their innings cautiously. Openers Aasif Sheikh and Kushal Bhurtel laid a steady foundation. Despite a dropped catch by Kagiso Rabada, which gave Nepal an early reprieve, they reached 32 for no loss at the end of the powerplay.

Middle Overs Momentum

The middle overs saw Aasif Sheikh and Anil Kumar Sah build a strong partnership. With spin expected to play a pivotal role, Tabraiz Shamsi’s introduction into the attack was critical. Shamsi’s first over brought immediate dividends, with the wickets of Bhurtel and Rohit Paudel stalling Nepal’s momentum.

A Glimmer of Hope

Despite the setback, Aasif Sheikh and Anil Kumar Sah continued to push the scoring. Sah’s aggressive strokes, including boundaries off Anrich Nortje and a six off Shamsi, brought the required rate within reach. The pair’s fifty partnership off 36 deliveries raised hopes of a historic win for Nepal.

The Turning Point Shamsi’s Magic Over

Shamsi’s Double Blow

The 18th over by Shamsi proved decisive. His first delivery to Airee resulted in a faint edge, confirmed by the DRS, sending Airee back. The final ball of the over saw Shamsi clean bowling the well-set Aasif Sheikh, leaving Nepal needing 16 off the last 12 balls.

The Final Over Baartman’s Nerve

Penultimate Over Drama

Anrich Nortje’s penultimate over was a masterclass in death bowling. Four consecutive dot balls, including the dismissal of Kushal Malla, piled pressure on Nepal. Sompal Kami’s massive six off the fifth ball briefly swung the momentum back, leaving Nepal needing eight from the final over.

Baartman’s Last Stand

Ottneil Baartman was entrusted with the final over. Gulshan Jha’s boundary over cover brought the equation down to four off three balls, igniting hopes among Nepal’s fans. However, Baartman’s well-executed slower bouncers resulted in two crucial dot balls. A desperate attempt for a bye on the final delivery led to Jha being run out, sealing South Africa’s one-run victory.

Key Performances Heroes and Heartbreaks

South Africa’s Standouts

  • Tabraiz Shamsi: With figures of 4 for 19, Shamsi was the standout performer, turning the game in South Africa’s favor with his crucial breakthroughs.
  • Reeza Hendricks: His patient 43 provided a steady platform, although his inability to accelerate highlighted the challenging batting conditions.
  • Ottneil Baartman: His calm under pressure in the final over was instrumental in securing the win.

Nepal’s Stars

  • Aasif Sheikh: Top-scored for Nepal with a composed 42, anchoring the innings and keeping Nepal in the hunt.
  • Kushal Bhurtel: His all-round performance, including 4 for 19 with the ball, was pivotal in restricting South Africa to a modest total.
  • Dipendra Singh Airee: Contributed significantly with both bat and ball, taking 3 for 21 and playing a crucial role in the middle order.

A Game to Remember

This match will be remembered for its dramatic twists and emotional roller-coaster. Nepal’s spirited performance, highlighted by their effective spin bowling and valiant chase, ended in heartbreak as they fell agonizingly short by one run. South Africa’s resilience and tactical brilliance, particularly in the final overs, ensured their unbeaten run in the group stage.

As Nepal exits the tournament with heads held high, having showcased their potential on the world stage, South Africa moves forward to the Super Eight with momentum and confidence. This match is a testament to the thrilling nature of T20 cricket, where the game can turn on its head in a matter of deliveries.