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Heartbreak For Nepal As Shamsi Scripts Stunning Turnaround

  • 3 min read

In Kingstown, a dramatic encounter left Nepal and their supporters devastated as they narrowly missed victory by one run against South Africa. The match ended in tears for Nepal, as the defeat also ousted them from the Super Eight stage of the T20 World Cup 2024. South Africa, on the other hand, maintained a perfect record in the group stage, achieving their fourth win, bolstered by Tabraiz Shamsi’s outstanding bowling performance of 4 for 19, which included a crucial 18th over.

Throughout the match, it appeared to be Nepal’s game to lose. Their spinners masterfully restricted South Africa to just 115 for 7 on a challenging pitch. Nepal was in a favorable position needing only 25 runs from 30 balls with seven wickets remaining.

Shamsi, substituting for Keshav Maharaj, shifted the momentum with a pivotal 18th over that took two crucial wickets, including that of a well-set Aasif Sheikh (42 off 49). The pressure built as the required rate climbed due to subsequent dot balls. Despite this, late powerful hits from Sompal Kami and 18-year-old Gulsan Jha brought the match to a thrilling climax, needing two runs from two balls. However, Ottneil Baartman’s precise bowling prevented any runs on the final deliveries, and a desperate scramble for a run on the last ball left Nepal agonizingly short of their target.

South Africa’s cautious start likely stemmed from their earlier experiences in the tournament. Their 38 for 1 during the powerplay was their highest in the tournament, yet they played conservatively, missing opportunities to challenge the bowlers early in the game. In contrast, Nepal’s bowlers maintained tight lines and lengths, with the spinners effectively taking control.

Nepal’s spinners were particularly effective, with Sandeep Lamichhane setting a daunting tone from his very first ball, which sharply turned past Reeza Hendricks’ defense. Although Lamichhane did not claim any wickets, his economical bowling, along with Dipendra Singh Airee (3 for 21) and Kushal Bhurtel (4 for 19), ensured that all seven South African wickets fell to spin.

Facing steady but challenging conditions, South Africa managed to build moderate partnerships, but struggled to accelerate their scoring. Only Tristan Stubbs, batting at number eight, managed to score at a strike rate exceeding 100.

Nepal continued to dominate with spin, with Bhurtel taking two crucial wickets in the final over, limiting South Africa to only 58 runs in the latter half of their innings.

An early dropped catch by Kagiso Rabada gave Nepal a brief advantage, which they extended by playing cautiously to 32 without loss by the end of the powerplay. Shamsi’s introduction proved decisive, as he disrupted Nepal’s stability by removing both Bhurtel and Rohit Paudel.

The game intensified towards the end. Shamsi’s 18th over was particularly dramatic; he dismissed Airee and then struck a critical blow to remove Sheikh. With 16 runs needed from the last 12 balls, Baartman and Nortje’s tight bowling in the final overs heightened the tension. Despite Kami’s spectacular six and Jha’s boundary, Baartman’s skillful final deliveries thwarted Nepal’s efforts. A last desperate attempt for a run on the final ball could have forced a Super Over, but as Jha was caught short of his crease, the match ended with Nepal’s heartbreaking elimination.