Tigers muzzled as S Africa hang on in WC T20 thriller

A third successive low-scoring thriller in the Big Apple has ended with South Africa effectively sealing their place in the T20 World Cup's Super Eight stage and Bangladesh bemoaning one of cricket's many quirky laws.

Chasing 114 to win the Tigers fell five short of victory, largely thanks to a leaping boundary catch off the penultimate ball by South Africa captain Aiden Markram.

But they were also four short of forcing a super over, which was a bitter outcome after four runs were chalked off in the 17th over after Australian umpire Sam Nogajski gave an lbw decision that was overturned on review. The ball ran away for four leg byes - but because of the initial decision the ball counted as dead, and was not replayed.  

Mahmudullah, Quinton de Kock
Bangladesh's Mahmudullah is caught on the boundary by Aiden Markram as Quinton de Kock watches.

When Adelaide curator Damien Hough was commissioned to produce the pitches for the event's 34,000-seat pop-up New York venue he will not have aimed for ones on which 120 would be regarded as a good score. T20 is all about six-hits as the recent run-laden Indian Premier League highlighted.

But while Hough's wickets have not delivered many runs, they have created perfect conditions for tight, gripping matches in which every hard-earned run counts.

While the wickets are hard to score on they are no longer misbehaving after Hough oversaw remedial work. Given they were seeded in Adelaide, grown in Florida then trucked to New York to be laid, and in this case, the pitch was being used for the third successive day, that may be as good as anyone could hope for. 

Batting first at Nassau County Stadium South Africa slumped to 4-23 with Tanzim Hasan Sakib taking 3-18 from his four overs. Heinrich Klaasen (46 off 44 balls including three sixes) and David Miller (29 off 38) then added 79 before Bangladesh closed down the innings conceding eight runs off the final two overs. 

That left South Africa  6-113 with Taksin Ahmed (2-19 off four) and Mustiafizur Rahman (0-18 off four) also impressing.

However, Bangladesh, despite being roared on by their loud and exuberant support, found batting just as tough. Anrich Nortje (2-17) helped reduce them to 4-50 before Towhid Hridoy (37) and Mahmudullah (20) came together.

The pair looked set to lead the Tigers to victory before Kagiso Rabada (2-19) had Hridoy leg before to make it 5-94. Boundaries, already scarce, dried up and it came down to 11 needed off the final over bowled by spinner Keshav Maharaj.

He got away with a trio of full tosses, the second of which ended with Markram catching Mahmudullah at long on as Bangladesh finished on 7-109.

"We got a decent score but were 10 runs short," Klaasen said. "The win will give us big confidence, we have had three pressure games.

"This is a match we should have won, we nearly did but the last couple of overs they bowled well," Bangladesh captain Najmul Hossain Shanto said.

In six matches now at the Long Island venue ,an hour from Manhattan, Canada's 7-137 against Ireland is the highest score. But the wickets offer something for bowlers as quick as Nortje, slower seamers such as Mustiafizur Rahman, and spinners, while the large dimensions and grassy outfield also contribute to the low scores.

South Africa, with three wins on the surface, will not be complaining. 

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