South Africa recorded the highest-ever successful run chase in T20I cricket with their six-wicket win over the West Indies at the SuperSport Park in Centurion on Sunday.
Put into bat, the Windies batsmen cashed in on a belter of a pitch and the short boundaries to post a mammoth 258/5. Johnson Charles top-scored for the visitors with 118 off only 46 balls.
In reply, the Proteas rode on Quinton de Kock’s 44-ball 100 and Reeza Hendricks’ 68 off 28 balls to seal the second and penultimate T20I with seven balls to spare and level the series, which is now 1-1.
One certainly feels for Charles, who scored the fastest T20I century for the Windies, which came off only 39 balls,. Charles’ knock comprised 10 boundaries and 11 maximums, while he also got good support from opener Kyle Mayers (51 off 27 balls) and captain Rovman Powell (28 off 19 balls).
Romario Shepherd gave the finishing touches to the Windies innings as he hammered an unbeaten 41 off only 18 balls. Among the South African bowlers, Marco Jansen took three and Wayne Parnell scalped two wickets.
South Africa’s reply, thereafter, began on a blistering note as De Kock and his opening partner Hendricks amassed 152 within 11 overs to lay the foundation for the highest-ever run chase. De Kock perished soon after his maiden T20I hundred
But the ordeal was far from over for the Windies as Hendricks and Rilee Rossouw (16 off 4 balls) kept up the fight before captain Aiden Markram (38 not out) and Heinrich Klaasen (16 not out) took the Proteas home with an over and a ball remaining.
A relieved Markram later credited openers De Kock and Hendricks for setting the run chase wonderfully for South Africa. “That was a great game to be a part of all in all. I think both teams can appreciate it,” skipper Markram said at the post-match presentation.
“We witnessed two really good knocks and I hope they’re remembered for their sake. We knew we were a little bit off the boil with the ball and the margin for error is tiny, and it showed again today (Sunday). Sometimes you just have to laugh it off.
“But some of the guys said they (the Windies) were 15 runs short. The guys always believed that if a couple guys get in, like Quinny and Reeza did, it was going to come down close to the end. So I think a lot of the credit has to go to the two of them for getting us off to such a great start and making the rest of the chase a bit more comfortable,” Markram emphasised.
For Man of the Match De Kock, getting his first-ever T20I century was “quite special.” “I’ve been searching for it for quite some time,” De Kock said.
“We haven’t played much T20Is here and when we do, I seem to try and give my best. So to be able to do it here was quite special.”