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By VINODE MAMCHAN
The game started in controversial circumstances for South Africa after top player Quinton de Kock decided not to play because the team was asked by their board to ‘take the knee’. However in the end it was the West Indies team on their knees as they lost their second game of the ICC 2021 World T20 by eight wickets at the Dubai International Stadium in Dubai Sports City.
This loss comes on the heels of their six-wicket defeat at the hands of England in the opening match for them last Saturday. Evin Lewis looked the part with a rapid 56 that took the West Indies to a less than par total of 143/8 off their 20 overs. Chasing 144 runs was no sweat for the South Africans who got a good start from stand-in opener Reeza Hendriks.
The match was then polished off with two excellent knocks by Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen. The duo batted with sense in measuring the target and reached home without alarms. Hendriks knocked 39 off 30 balls with four fours and a six and looked the part. Markram an van der Dussen then added 83 runs off nine overs to seal the deal. Markram was the aggressor of the two with 51 not out off just 26 balls. He clouted four sixes and two fours, while van der Dussen made a measured 43 not out off 51 balls with three hits to the fence.
Earlier, South Africa took the field under a dark cloud as they were bashed on social media after photos surfaced from their last game against Australia showing some players taking the ‘knee’ in support of racial equality and others not. Cricket South Africa then made it mandatory for all their players to do it but this did not go down well with wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock. He then had to miss the match because of his stance.
Temba Bavuma won the toss and asked Pollard to pad up. After a very good first few overs Lewis cut loose to hammer the Proteas bowling to all parts of the vast ground. Bavuma made an error by persisting with part-timer Aiden Markram for his third over and Lewis seized the opportunity with relish. Six balls went into the vacant seats as the attendance was far less impressive to the last game here against the Indians.
Lewis using the depth of his crease to good effect struck the balls long and far, with one going all off 102 meters into the second tier of the stands. South Africa needed a spark of inspiration and it came from the dependable Keshav Maharaj who was able to send back Lewis for 56 off 35 balls, including six sixes and three fours.
Firebrand Nicholas Pooran came and struck two boundaries before he left as Maharaj continued the fightback. Simmons then perished soon after consuming 35 balls for his 16 runs with no boundaries as he failed to get the ball away, continuing his struggles. Although wickets started to fall the South Africans would not have looked at the scoreboard because of the dangerous hitters to come.
Universe Boss Chris cracked a massive six off Tabriaz Shamsi but could not repeat the feat later on and fell for 12. South Africa was able to strangle the West Indies towards the end with Anrich Nortje bowled brilliantly taking 1/14 off his four overs. Pollard tired getting 26 off 20 balls but fell to a brilliantly piece of homework done by the South Africans. They placed van der Dussen right behind the bowler and Pollard who likes to hit straight struck one inches off the ground into his hand. The last five overs brought only 48 runs and the West Indies lost five wickets.