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The Report by Firdose Moonda
June 22, 2012
Bangladesh 131 for 7 (Ashraful 40, Parnell 2-18) beat South Africa 129 for 7 (Ontong 41, Sunny 2-21) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Bangladesh pulled off a thrilling coup to stay alive in the tri-series, handing South Africa a second successive defeat in Harare. Their slew of spin bowlers restricted South Africa to a below-par total in almost subcontinent conditions before Bangladesh's batsmen, led by Mohammad Ashraful and Mahmudullah, chased it down in nervy fashion.
South Africa chose to bat but found the going tough on a slow, sticky pitch. Mushfiqur Rahim quickly realised spin was his most potent weapon and used all his options. South Africa were tied down by both left-arm and offspinners. In contrast, Bangladesh were able to score more easily against an inconsistent South African attack that gave away eight wides and two no-balls despite not having many to defend.
Chasing 130, Junaid Siddique, who replaced Tamim Iqbal at the top of the order, had a short stay. He scored 5 before top-edging Marchant de Lange to third man. Ashraful, however, played an uncharacteristically mature innings to steer the chase.
Ashraful took on left-arm spinner Robin Peterson and scored three boundaries in his second over, showing off the cut, drive and sweep. Then followed a bizarre over from Marchant de Lange, which cost 18 runs. It contained five wides, a short delivery that Anamul Haque pulled for four, a yorker that had Anamul lbw, a peach of an outswinger, and two half volleys that Ashraful hit for four.
De Lange's over was illustrative of the entire South African attack, which bowled some unplayable deliveries and some very poor ones. They were guilty of two lengths, too short and too full. But the spin of Peterson and Faf du Plessis, as well as an improved showing from Wayne Parnell, kept them in the game until the final over.
Ashraful and Mushfiqur added 41 runs for the third wicket and put Bangladesh ahead. Parnell muscled South Africa back into the contest when Mushfiqur gloved an attempted hook and was caught behind, and Nasir Hossain was caught at fine-leg playing the same shot in the same over.
Du Plessis stemmed the run flow and Ashraful gave it away on 40, when he hit the ball to Chris Morris at long-on. Mahmudullah had to calm Ziaur Rahman, with whom he shared a 40-run stand for the sixth wicket, and guide Bangladesh to the end. He did not complete the job, though, falling when six runs were needed.
Farhad Reza caused some late jitters when he hit a full toss to deep midwicket but Rahman was on hand to achieve the target.
South Africa had needed a batsman in the mould of Ashraful or Mahmudullah but their line-up was uncomfortable from the start of their innings.
Du Plessis, a replacement for Richard Levi, opened the batting with Hashim Amla for the first time in the tournament but could not replicate his good IPL form. He lost composure when he tried to hit an Elias Sunny slower-ball over long on but got a leading edge to Rahman at mid-on. Bangladesh prised open the South African line-up thereafter, using the turn to their advantage. Colin Ingram offered Mahmudullah a return catch and Amla was run out two balls later. Apart from overthrows, the fielding kept South Africa boundary-less during those five overs when three wickets fell.
Nasir Hossain got his first bowl of the tournament and Justin Ontong decided he was the man to target. He slog swept Hossain for six, the only one of his 56-run partnership with Farhaan Berhardien. Ontong ushered Behardien through the middle period by finding singles but by the 16th over, South Africa had not reached 100 and Ontong decided to have a go.
He looked to hit Rahman across the line but came too far down the pitch and was easily stumped. South Africa lost a wicket in each of the next three overs and only Peterson's last-over charge took them past 120, which proved to be too little.
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