Home IPL 2024 South Africa is batting feet down plucky but the USA tone deaf

South Africa is batting feet down plucky but the USA tone deaf

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South Africa emerged from their recent batting struggles to secure a victory against a resilient United States team in North Sound on Wednesday. This win marked their fifth consecutive triumph in this edition of the men’s T20 World Cup, the longest winning streak in their tournament history, reports Live Cricket Score.

Quinton de Kock’s explosive 40-ball 74 was his first significant score in nine T20I innings; following a lean period, he managed only 48 runs in his last four outings. Challenging batting conditions had contributed to his earlier struggles. After the match, de Kock expressed relief, saying, “It’s nice to get a decent pitch finally.”

De Kock and Aiden Markram forged a 110-run partnership off 60 balls, South Africa’s only century stand in the 19 T20Is they’ve played since October 2022. By the 12th over, they had already surpassed their highest total in the tournament, finishing at 194/4. This was the highest score in the 18 men’s T20Is played at North Sound, the joint fifth-highest in the T20I World Cup, and South Africa’s best in seven matches in this format. Only 19 times in 101 T20Is batting first have they scored more.

However, the victory wasn’t without its hiccups. Following de Kock’s dismissal in the 13th over, David Miller and Markram quickly followed, with three wickets falling for 15 runs in 17 balls. Miller’s dismissal marked only his second first-ball duck in 106 T20I innings.

Despite these setbacks, South Africa’s overall position was never seriously threatened. The US team showed resilience but never brought the match close enough to unsettle the South Africans. They managed five overs in their second half with ten or more runs each, but entering this phase, they needed over two runs per ball.

Andries Gous provided a late surge, hitting Anrich Nortje for four and two sixes in a 15th over that cost 19 runs. Gous also contributed significantly in the 19th over, bowled by Tabraiz Shamsi, which went for 22 runs, including two sixes. The absence of death bowler Ottneil Baartman could have been costly, but Kagiso Rabada’s experience and skill proved crucial. Rabada, who had looked listless in the first four matches with figures of 4/84, bounced back, conceding six or fewer runs in three of his four overs and taking 3/18.

Gous’ career-best 80 not out off 47 balls and his 91-run partnership off 43 balls with Harmeet Singh for the ninth wicket limited South Africa’s victory margin to 18 runs. The US team’s 176/6 was their fifth-highest total in 32 T20Is and their second-highest against full-member opponents.

Despite the spirited performance, something was missing from the US team’s effort. Their failure to acknowledge the passing of Willie Mays, an iconic sports figure who passed away at 93, was noticeable. Mays was among the greatest players in any sport, often compared to AB de Villiers but considered even better. He hit 660 home runs, ranking fifth in MLB history, with only two players ahead of him not tainted by drug scandals. Mays’ remarkable achievements, all amid enduring racism, included a .300 batting average, over 300 home runs, and more than 300 stolen bases, making him a unique figure in baseball history.

The fact that the US cricket team didn’t mark Mays’ passing, despite only four of their XI being US-born, was seen as a missed opportunity. Representing the USA involves more than just the letters on their shirts; it means embodying the spirit and history of the nation, imperfectly but sincerely.

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