Proteas fall short against Windies despite Reeza Hendricks’ heroics
Alzarri Joseph took a career-best five-wicket haul to guide West Indies to a series-clinching victory over the Proteas on Tuesday.
The Proteas fell seven runs short at the Wanderers on Tuesday as West Indies clinched the T20I series 2-1.
Alzarri Joseph recorded career-best figures of five for 40 in four overs to help restrict South Africa to 213 for six in the third and final T20I after the Windies scored 220 for eight in their allotted 20 overs.
Opening batter Reeza Hendricks was valiant in attempting to chase down the massive total, scoring 83 runs off only 44 deliveries. Hendricks struck 11 fours and two sixes in his elegant innings.
It was Hendricks’ second consecutive half-century after his 68 off 28 deliveries on Sunday’s second historic T20I. It was also his sixth T20I 50 in his past eight matches.
But the chase was too tall for the South Africans on this occasion as no other batter in the Proteas lineup reached a half-century.
West Indies were on 194 for eight at the start of the last over of their innings after an incredible 33-run 20-ball partnership by tailenders Romario Shepherd and Joseph — which ensured they weren’t bowled out.
Kingpin Kagiso Rabada — tasked with bowling the final over — dragged the ball short which Shepherd skied high up into the Sandton night. Heinrich Klaasen, fielding at fine leg, ran in and dropped the attempted catch.
Shepherd took two runs off that delivery and peppered a further 24 runs off the five final deliveries to guide West Indies to 220 for eight when they could have potentially been bowled out for under 200 in the final over.
Shepherd finished with a team-high score of 44 runs off 22 balls, sharing in a 59-run 26-ball ninth-wicket partnership with Joseph (14 off nine).
As the cricket gods would have it, South Africa needed 26 runs to win off the final over of the match. With skipper Aiden Markram on strike and Raymon Reifer bowling his first over of the match, there was a chance of an unlikely match and series win.
But Reifer, bowling his slingy left-arm cutters, restricted the South African captain to only 18 off the final over to win the match for his side.
The victory, however, was set up in the penultimate over. With South Africa requiring 35 runs in the final two overs, Joseph only conceded nine runs and picked up three wickets, that of in-form Hendricks, Klaasen and Wayne Parnell.
The final wicket of Parnell, clattering his off-stump, brought up Joseph’s maiden T20I five-wicket haul. It was his second such feat on the Windies’ tour to South Africa after he did the same in the Test series.
“Having the experience of playing here in the SA20 was really good for me,” said Joseph, who played for the Joburg Super Kings.
Markram won the toss and elected to bowl first on a Wanderers deck that had one extremely short boundary. West Indies tried to take advantage of it, but were pegged back consistently by the South African bowlers who were expensive, but took wickets throughout.
Lungi Ngidi, Rabada and Anrich Nortje each finished with two wickets, although they all flew around the park, going for 45, 50 and 36 runs in their four overs, respectively.
Markram was the other wicket-taker with his ever-reliable off-breaks.
Despite the consistent loss of wickets, the Windies continued to play their shots. Nicholas Pooran led the charge with a 19-ball 41. He was particularly ruthless on Bjorn Fortuin, smacking him for three sixes in one over.
South Africa had the Windies pinned back at 161 for eight after 15.4 overs after David Miller athletically ran out Reifer. But the Proteas took their foot off the gas against the tail and allowed them at least 20 more runs on a dewy Wanderers surface.
“From an execution perspective, their bowlers just executed better than ours,” said head coach Rob Walter bluntly after the encounter. DM