‘Pretty crazy’ as South Africa defeat Windies in record T20 run chase
South Africa set a new record for chasing in international T20 cricket when they scored 259 for four to beat West Indies by six wickets at Centurion on Sunday in a game described as “pretty crazy”.
Johnson Charles smashed a 39-ball century for the visitors as they posted an imposing 258 for five, the joint sixth-highest total in T20 internationals.
However, Quinton de Kock responded with 100 from 44 balls, a maiden T20I century, while fellow opener Reeza Hendricks hit 68.
“It was pretty, pretty crazy. When we came off halfway, we thought we had enough,” said West Indies skipper Rovman Powell.
“But credit to Quinton de Kock and Reeza Hendricks. They applied pressure from ball one.”
South Africa captain Aiden Markram (38 not out) saw his side home with seven balls to spare.
The previous highest run chase was Bulgaria’s 246 to beat Serbia in 2022 while Australia made 245 to beat New Zealand in 2018.
“It was quite special. Reeza was the silent assassin. When I got out he said, ‘We just did something really special and we should be proud of what we’ve done’,” said De Kock whose innings was laced with nine fours and eight sixes.
“We have played together for so long. We know what he can do.”
De Kock shared an opening stand of 152 in 10.5 overs with Hendricks to set up the win.
Hendricks’ 28-ball assault on the West Indies bowlers featured 11 fours and two sixes.
De Kock clubbed three sixes off successive balls from Sheldon Cottrell in a second over which yielded 29 runs.
– ‘Used to losing’ –
South Africa scored 102 runs in the six-over power play, a record in matches between Test nations.
Asked how he approached his innings, De Kock said: “Just pick the right options and play with a bit of hope. Playing at Centurion, we know we can get a lot of runs here.”
Thirty-five sixes and 46 fours were hit as the Centurion ground lived up to its reputation as a high-scoring venue with its true pitch, fast outfield and boundaries that proved too short in the thin air of the South African highveld, particularly for the West Indian power-hitters.
The powerfully-built Charles made 118 off 46 balls, hitting 11 of his team’s 22 sixes as well as 10 fours.
His century was the fastest for the West Indies, and the equal fourth-fastest in the format.
“We tell him to go hard. We give him a licence to hit. He played very well today,” said Powell.
However, he added ruefully: “This is the seventh game I’ve been on the T20 circuit that we scored 240 or 250 runs and we lost so I’m quite used to it now.”
West Indies clawed their way back when South Africa batted with Powell using Raymon Reifer and himself to “take the pace off” with slow-medium bowling.
South Africa still needed 41 off the last four overs when Jason Holder had the dangerous David Miller caught at long-off for 10.
Left-armer Reifer dismissed De Kock and conceded only 24 runs off his first three overs.
But his last over, the 17th of the innings, cost 18 runs including a sequence of 4, 6, 4 by Markram to remove any anxiety by the home team.
“It was a great game to be a part of,” said Markram.
“All in all I think both teams can appreciate it.”
The series is tied at 1-1. The final match will be at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
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