Romario Shepherd’s unbeaten 44 off 22 balls and his ninth-wicket partnership of 59 off 26 balls with Alzarri Joseph, who took his maiden T20I five-for, helped West Indies win an intriguing series.
Shepherd and Joseph helped West Indies achieve the Wanderers’ third-highest score without an individual fifty since Australia’s 221 for 5 against England in 2007. With dew gumming up the ball and a determined South African team, they were able to protect it.
Reeza Hendricks scored a career-best 83 and added 80 with Rilee Rossouw for the second wicket, but South Africa’s run-rate skyrocketed and their batting line-up seemed thin.
West Indies won their second consecutive T20I series in South Africa eight years after winning in 2015. Sheldon Cottrell and Jason Holder are the only active players that played that series.
Ngidi’s nightmare begins
Ngidi hoped things would improve after playing a T20I in November’s World Cup loss to Netherlands, but they didn’t. He bowled a good opening delivery but erred down the leg-side to Brandon King, who assisted the ball over long leg.
Ngidi adjusted to outside off stump with his next delivery, but King sent it onto the roof over deep mid-wicket, forcing him to change tactics. King hit this fourth ball over mid-wicket for four. Ngidi overstepped for his next ball in fury. Kyle Mayers blasted a low full-toss over extra cover for four to finish a 22-run over
Kagiso Rabada made apologies after Ngidi. He bowled Mayers with a full, quick delivery that rocked the West Indian opener off his feet and then bowled SuperSport Park centurion Johnson Charles for a first-ball duck.
As South Africa rallied, Charles didn’t move to a ball that snuck back towards him and inside-edged onto his stumps. Anrich Nortje returned in the ninth over and spotted Mayers go over his stumps. He pitched it on leg stump and took it out.
Rovman Powell opened his stance and missed a slog, bowling Aiden Markram, the fourth West Indian. West Indies were 108 for 4 at halftime, when Ngidi caught Nicholas Pooran behind.
West Indies needed a good finish after losing 3 for 21 between the 13th and 16th overs with little batting left. Shepherd and Joseph scored 52 runs in the last three overs to help West Indies reach 200.
Shepherd edged Wayne Parnell but Quinton de Kock could not hang on, and then he skied a chance off Rabada but Heinrich Klaasen missed it in the lights at fine leg. Shepherd closed the innings with a big six over long on, a draw through mid-wicket for four, and an aerial drive over Rabada’s head in a 26-run over. Shepherd’s 22-ball 44 was undefeated.
South Africa scored seven runs in the first two overs of their reply before Quinton de Kock accelerated. He guided Cottrell through third man to start his boundary count and then hit three fours off Roston Chase’s second over to show South Africa’s determination.
De Kock was benefiting from slower bowling but misread when Joseph braked and cut to Chase at third. De Kock warned Rossouw the ball was sticking in the pitch as he exited the field, but the No.3 appeared unconcerned.
He blasted his opening ball over extra cover for four, then dispatched Joseph over point for six and through the covers for four. South Africa concluded the Powerplay with 61 runs, one wicket fewer than West Indies, after Rossouw hit 19 runs off his first six deliveries.
Hendricks has found several runs with subtlety rather than anger, unlike de Kock or Rossouw. A six completed his sixth T20I half century in eight innings. Hendricks pulled a Shepherd slower ball over deep mid-wicket, showing off his wrist strength and placement, then opted to show off his big-hitting.
He hit the following ball and hit deep extra cover, where Brandon King missed it. South Africa needed 92 off 46 balls. Hendricks’ lifeline emboldened him to go aerial in the following over, but the ball landed short of mid-wicket and he survived again.
He scored a career-best 83 and batted until the last over. Hendricks attempted to go over long-on but hit Joseph to Powell on the fence. South Africa needed 35 runs off 12 balls.
Another five-for Joseph.
Joseph removed de Kock in his first over and Miller in his third, but his toughest challenge came in his last six balls, with South Africa’s big-hitters set to score. Klaasen went across Hendricks’ stumps and whacked him for six.
Joseph wasn’t intimidated. He slowed down and cut Klaasen’s ball high. Cottrell’s running catch sent South Africa’s last batsman back. Joseph got the gas back and fired a full, fast ball to Wayne Parnell, who swung and missed, for his maiden T20I five-for.