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CRICKET

Records tumble as Proteas chase down 258 in T20 International against West Indies

Records tumble as Proteas chase down 258 in T20 International against West Indies
Quinton de Kock has announced his retirement from ODIs. (Photo: Sydney Seshibedi / Gallo Images)

Quinton de Kock and Reeza Hendricks laid a 152-run partnership platform as South Africa chased down a world-record T20I total on Sunday.

Proteas opener Quinton de Kock thumped a 100 off 44 balls to guide South Africa to a world record 259-run target and a six-wicket win over West Indies in the second game of their three-match T20I series.

The victory means South Africa level the series after they lost by three wickets against the same opposition at SuperSport Park in a rain-reduced 11-over match on Saturday.

A total of 517 runs was scored in the match on Sunday, with De Kock one of two centurions along with the West Indies’ Johnson Charles – who struck the fastest-ever 100, off 39 balls, by a Windies batter.

Charles finished on 118 off 46 deliveries, but his incredible exploits with the bat was not enough as South Africa made the record chase look easy, winning the match with seven balls to spare.

De Kock and Hendricks started the onslaught as a pair, with the latter providing a foil for De Kock to launch from.

After two overs, the openers already had 42 runs on the board after smashing left-arm pace bowler ​​Sheldon Cottrell for 29 runs in the second over.

The  SuperSport Park wicket was as flat as a fresh piece of paper, which provided value for shots when playing conventional cricket strokes – in opposition to what’s regularly seen in T20 cricket.

Hendricks and De Kock peppered the ball all over Centurion, with the thin Highveld air and smaller boundary sizes also helping mistimed shots (of which there were few) fly into the jubilant crowd instead of the would-be catchers out on the oval.

“Everyone who contributed today played really good cricket shots; it wasn’t really a case of slogging,” said Hendricks, who played his 50th T20 international today.

The pair brought up the team 100 in the sixth over and were on 102 after the six overs — the highest-ever Powerplay score by a Test-playing nation.

“We never had a total in mind. but to score the runs we did in the first six overs was a bonus,” Hendricks added.

“It was unbelievable to be part of [that partnership]. With Quinton on the other end, playing the way he did, I could play second fiddle. It was special to be a part of.”

Marco Jansen and Quinton de Kock celebrate the wicket of Johnson Charles during the 2nd KFC T20 International match between South Africa and West Indies at SuperSport Park on 26 March 2023 in Centurion, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images)

Big hits

In the process, De Kock brought up his half-century off only 15 deliveries, the fastest-ever 50 by a South African in T20I cricket.

His second 50 was at a pedestrian pace of 28 balls – compared to his first, which came at near lightning speed.

After flicking ​​Raymon Reifer to deep square leg, off his pads, to bring up his maiden T20I century off 43 balls, De Kock skied the very next ball straight up in the air and was caught by wicket-keeper Nicholas Pooran.

De Kock hit nine fours and eight sixes in his superb innings today, after he scored a golden duck in yesterday’s match at the same venue.

“That’s the Quinny I know. With cricket it doesn’t come off all the time, but today fortunately for him, it came off when the team needed it most. That’s how he plays,” Hendricks said.

 “[It was a] special innings to witness, especially from the other end.”

Reifer (one wicket for 42 runs in four overs) was the pick of the Windies bowlers, going at 10.5 runs to the over in a match where South Africa were going at nearly 14 runs per over throughout their innings.

De Kock and Hendricks put on a 152-run opening stand, off only 10.5 overs.

Rilee Rossouw (16 off four balls) came in and continued where De Kock left off, hitting his first ball for a boundary before smashing his next two for sixes. His stay was short lived, however, as he was caught at extra cover by Brandon King off the bowling of Odean Smith.

Hendricks reached his half-century with an incredible back-foot jab over cover for six – his first of his innings – off only 22 deliveries.

While De Kock was bludgeoning the ball to all parts on the one end, Hendricks was caressing his way to an elegant-yet-quickfire 50.

“T20s allow for normal cricket shots, normal stroke play. You don’t have to go out there and swing from the hip from ball one,” Hendricks said.

Hendricks thumped one more six and 11 fours in total in his 28-ball 68 before he feathered a Rovman Powell delivery behind to Nicholas Pooran.

Two new batters, captain Aiden Markram and David Miller, were at the crease with the Proteas on 196 for three after 13 overs, requiring 62 off the last seven overs.

The pair stuttered a bit before Miller (with a run-a-ball 10) holed out to Jason Holder at long-off off the bowling of Romario Shepherd to make for a potentially tense finish. 

But Markram (38 off 21), wearing the national captaincy armband on a permanent basis for the first time, whacked a couple of fours and one big six over cow-corner to finish the match – in the 19th over – alongside Heinrich Klaasen (16 off seven).

Johnson Charles batting during the 2nd KFC T20 International match between South Africa and West Indies at SuperSport Park on 26 March 2023 in Centurion, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images)

Charles special

Earlier in the day, Markram’s decision to bowl first looked like the wrong one after Johnson Charles and Kyle Mayers put on a spectacular 135-run second wicket partnership off only 58 balls. The Windies were sitting comfortably on 137 for one after 10 overs before Mayers (51 off 27) fell off the bowling of Marco Jansen.

Three balls later, Jansen got rid of Pooran and South Africa looked set to pull West Indies back. Instead, Charles continued to obliterate South Africa’s bowling, being particularly brutal to Sisanda Magala, who conceded 67 runs for no wicket in his four overs.

Jansen eventually got rid of Charles in the 14th over, but West Indies had already reached 179 runs at that stage.

Jansen collected three scalps, but the lanky left-armer went for 52 runs in his four overs at an economy rate of 13.

Kagiso Rabada, meanwhile, conceded 39 runs for no wickets in his four overs – the only bowler from both teams with under 10 runs an over.

Big hitters Shepherd (41 off 18) and skipper Powell (28 off 19) accepted the platform set for them with gleeful hands as the pair bludgeoned the ball all over SuperSport Park. They put on 57 off 26 balls for the sixth wicket.

Shepherd hit the final ball of the innings, bowled by Magala, for six to provide West Indies with momentum and confidence after posting 258 for five in their 20 overs.

But at the halfway mark, South Africa believed the record score could be chased down.

“When we walked off the field, KG [Rabada] actually said they’re 10 runs short,” Hendricks joked after the match.

“Going into our batting innings with the total on the board, we knew what was expected of us; so we just went with the flow and capitalised where we could.”

“Everyone in the changing room was quietly confident that this is a really good wicket. We never doubted ourselves at any stage. We believed it was a good wicket and we believed we had the batters to go out there and chase the score down.”

And chase the score the Proteas did, recording the highest-ever run chase – surpassing Bulgaria’s 246 run chase against Serbia last year. DM

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