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September 15, 2007
The only way is down
Everything started so well for Makhaya Ntini when he trapped Nazimuddin lbw with his first ball, but the evening quickly took on a less rosy complexion. Aftab Ahmed cracked the last three deliveries of his first over for 6,6,4, charging down the pitch with utter disdain, then nonchalantly flicking him over square. When his second over went for 15, Ntini retired from the attack with two overs for 31 and shaking his head at this Twenty20 lark.
Revenge is sweet
Between Ntini's two overs, Shaun Pollock was also on the receiving end of some equally fierce shots. His second over was an extraordinary affair as he removed Tamim Iqbal with the first ball before being sent high over deep square-leg by Mohammad Ashraful. Another boundary followed and Ashraful couldn't stop himself. Already with 10 off two balls he tried to launch Pollock straight down the ground, only to find Graeme Smith's safe hands. Pollock let Ashraful know who'd won that little battle.
Cape Cobras batsman JP Duminy beat Gulam Bodi to the race to replace Herschelle Gibbs in the starting line-up. He showed his worth to the side with two outstanding pieces of fielding as South African kept their heads amid Bangladesh's flashing blades. He ran out Shakib Al Hasan with a direct hit from mid-off, then held onto a stunning catch running backwards at extra cover to remove Mashrafe Mortaza. The huge crowd cheered on their hometown hero and a mass of South African flags waved around the ground, which continued with each graceful boundary he struck in his 36. He had a decent evening.
Give a big wave
The crowd created a fantastic atmosphere as the locals, probably still savouring the previous night's rugby result, roared on their side. Normally the sight of a Mexican wave at a ground is an indication that proceedings have become a little dull, but on this occasion it was just evidence that everyone was fully into the spirit of the game and proved how much the country has taken hold of Twenty20.
After taking a nasty blow on his hand against West Indies, Smith could have sat out this match if he wanted, with nothing at stake, but he was determined to lead from the front. He began by catching well, then played a controlled 41 off 34 balls to put his team on course for victory. Smith might not be everyone's cup of tea, but there is no denying that he is a determined and gutsy player.
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