Netherlands v SA, World T20, Group 1, Chittagong March 27, 2014

Ahsan Malik raises the bar for Associates

ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from Chittagong
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Play 10:20
Ahsan Malik takes career-best 5 for 19

The landmark
Ahsan Malik had never taken five wickets in a match and the last time he faced South Africa he was hit for 81 in ten overs. He ended this match with the ninth-best T20 international bowling figures ever and the best by an Associate against a Full Member. He first struck to remove Hashim Amla, who looked a bit miffed to be given caught behind, then had Albie Morkel slogging high but not so handsome. Returning at the death, Malik cashed in on South Africa's laissez-faire approach, claiming Dale Steyn and Beuran Hendricks as the lower order threw the bat, then rounded off his bag of five of five by bowling David Miller.

The over
Hashim Amla has faced some impertinent questions about his position in South Africa's T20 side but when he became the second wicket to fall he had scored 43 out of 45. More than half of those runs came off one over, Michael Swart's second. Swart opened the bowling, taking the wicket of Quinton de Kock with his fifth ball. His eighth went for six and ninth, tenth, 11th and 12th all went for boundaries in a burst of elegant fury from Amla. Three were rubber-wristed drives over the ring, the first an enormous six that sailed serenely over long-off, plus a whippy pull behind square and a thick edge through slip, as 23 came off the over.

The straight drive
Facing the wicket-to-wicket medium pace of Mudassar Bukhari, AB de Villiers leaned into a crisp punch down the ground. So tight was Bukhari's line and such fidelity was there in de Villiers' reply that the ball flew straight back into the stumps at the non-striker's end. Normally that would be the end of its progress but de Villiers' shot barged a way through and had to be cut off by mid-off as the batsmen picked up a single.

The XII, or XIII?
Briefly, there were 13 South Africans on the pitch. Stephan Myburgh and Wesley Barresi were born in South Africa and played first-class cricket there, though both have been part of Netherlands' set-up for a few years now, and they spent a couple of overs together making their countrymen sweat. Whether Imran Tahir, born in Lahore, quite counts in that figure is open to debate.

The catch and release
When Myburgh, intent on plunder, top-edged a pull out towards deep midwicket, it provided a chance for de Villiers on the boundary. He made his ground and took the catch comfortably enough but, with his momentum taking him back towards the rope, had to toss the ball away. Milliseconds later his foot landed on the boundary marker and, although he couldn't pull off any further acrobatics to complete the dismissal, his reflexes saved a certain six.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 27, 2014, 19:26 GMT

    So pakistan won in the match since the two best performers imran tahir and ahsan malik hail from cricket's favorite nation :)

  • POSTED BY on | March 27, 2014, 15:43 GMT

    How can anyone challenge Amla's position in any side. This man is all class; the best batsman on the planet. In his present form, SA should feel honoured to have him on the side. Fans are so quick to disimiss even the game's greats, for even the slightest dip in form. Amla had a poor run of late, but he appears to be coming back strong. Go Amla! Just stay away from that guy Shami. Somehow that kid has figured out how to get your scalp every time.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 27, 2014, 19:26 GMT

    So pakistan won in the match since the two best performers imran tahir and ahsan malik hail from cricket's favorite nation :)

  • POSTED BY on | March 27, 2014, 15:43 GMT

    How can anyone challenge Amla's position in any side. This man is all class; the best batsman on the planet. In his present form, SA should feel honoured to have him on the side. Fans are so quick to disimiss even the game's greats, for even the slightest dip in form. Amla had a poor run of late, but he appears to be coming back strong. Go Amla! Just stay away from that guy Shami. Somehow that kid has figured out how to get your scalp every time.

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  • POSTED BY on | March 27, 2014, 15:43 GMT

    How can anyone challenge Amla's position in any side. This man is all class; the best batsman on the planet. In his present form, SA should feel honoured to have him on the side. Fans are so quick to disimiss even the game's greats, for even the slightest dip in form. Amla had a poor run of late, but he appears to be coming back strong. Go Amla! Just stay away from that guy Shami. Somehow that kid has figured out how to get your scalp every time.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 27, 2014, 19:26 GMT

    So pakistan won in the match since the two best performers imran tahir and ahsan malik hail from cricket's favorite nation :)