SA win. Ngidi hits the deck. SKY’s knock. Bangladesh’s grit and grind. Taskin & the Fizz. Williams. Last ball weirdness. Pakistan. Netherlands.

Day 15

I did something on that shot by Kohli in case you need it.

South Africa win

This was a game that seemed completely over early on. The South African quicks were all over India.

Just bang the ball in, get the fine men very fine, put the other two out at square, put in a slip, hell, two if you need it. It was spicy as hell, and with that first new ball, they almost ended it completely. But South Africa never quite knocked them out, and with SKY's innings India fought back.

But once they got to 133, they were in the match. If you hadn't been watching much of this tournament, you could think, well, that is a low total. But Pakistan couldn't chase less against Zimbabwe on this wicket. And really didn't always chase the Netherlands' total well. This score had India in the game.

And when Arhsdeep got the early wickets- which probably deserve more attention than I am going to give them - it was game on. Temba Bavuma finally got a match where his anchor skills were really needed, and he somehow got caught down the legside scooping.

At that point, India were on top. And that went on for a while, until after the toilet timeout, this game changed direction.

In the 11th over, Aiden Markram decided to attack Hardik. He got a top edge that went to the rope, and then four byes from a bouncer that DK couldn't catch.

The 12th over Markram kept going against Ashwin, hitting a boundary early on. But then he was dropped by Virat Kohli off Ashwin. It was such a clever ball, and Markram got in a tangle.

The 13th over, Shami came on, and South Africa decided to play him out a little bit. After three dots and a two. Then Miller only lands the ball out near short point from a good ball. There is confusion from the runners; Rohit has to run in and underarm onto all three stumps. And he misses.

The 14th over both Markram and Miller both hit sixes from Ashwin. This was South Africa's second time going for a knockout. But even then South Africa couldn't end the game. India fought back in again, but when they couldn't get Miller out, all he needed was enough strike to win this.

Hell of a game, a big loss for India, a bigger loss for Pakistan.

SA quicks

Marco Jansen might be the most disappointed person on earth at the moment. He is taller and faster than Bruce Reid, the bing left-armer who dominated the WACA for years. And Jansen missed out so they could use Parnell's swing instead. Probably because they wanted more swing again.

But for everyone else, this was like Christmas. Lungi Ngidi has one of the highest percentages of slower balls used in the World. And he was not bowling many tonight.

You look at his strike rate, and it is obscene.

Even for a death specialist, to take a wicket every 12 balls, and then average two a game, is really just unbelievable. But how he got this record is by putting obscene amounts of revolutions on the ball with a fast arm action. Today, no, it was not that. He was at Perth, the slowerballs could fuck off.

He went into the wicket and hard. He might be the third quickest in this attack, but that's cause the others have real juice. But he is tall and strong. Against Rohit he got the splice on a pull shot. Against Rahul he gets extra bounce off a length. There is a hook from Virat which is again really High. Oh, and one more from Hardik as well, which comes from the stop edge.

I like that he went with a different method, and it shows he can still do this when it's needed.

Nortje didn't get the figures in this one, but he was absolutely terrifying. The ball he bowled to Virat that came back over the stumps was filthy. Later he would deliver another wobbleball that moved away and took the edge. But I want to mention two things, he bowled a 133KPH knuckleball, and I am not sure their slips were close enough to him to be called that.


From the moment Suryakumar Yadav went in he tried to put pressure back on the bowlers. That is not an easy thing to do when your top oder are going. You need to be sure of your spot - and he should be - and also the technicals of your game. This wasn't slogging, it was good T20 batting.

That is how you build this kind of record.

He is the leading runscorer in T20Is this year. And when you compare him to the best batters, he is in another world.

There was a moment where he moved across the crease as a trigger moment, creating a better angle (I checked he doesn't do this on other balls). And then he goes further as he sees the ball is short and straight. When inside it, he paddle pulls it miles on a wicket most people can't pull safely at all.

But I want to highlight this as well, he went after Maharaj. He knew that was a good match-up in Perth, and even though its not massive strenght of his (30av/124sr), he knew this was his only chance. There was a scouple of cuts, a straiught drive and a crazy sweep

And how did that look, well they scored almost 30 runs off those three overs, forced a part timer - which they didn't capitalise on and it was the difference between something their bowlers were in the game with or not.


The grit and grind era of Memphis Grizzlies basketball was very successful for them. And that was something quite special, because before that they were rubbish. This wasn't Memphis splashing threes, or guys driving into the paint to posterise over other people.

It's was high-pressure defense, using as much of the clock offensively as you could, posting up their Spanish giant Marc Gasol and being physical with the opposition. That was the pro version of it, the negative one was that the Grizzlies had poor shooting, plodding offense, and no huge stars. It wasn't sexy basketball, but Memphis had their most successful era ever. The fans took to it, because their team was winning.

Bangladesh are a very poor T20 team historically. And of recent times, they have the worst win-loss ratio in the last three years of any team still in this tournament. But they have now won two games in this part of the tournament for the first time.

Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Namibia and the Netherlands are all playing similar styles of cricket. Outside of Sikander Raza, none of these sides have anything that can change a change an innings quickly consistently. They all have solid five bowling options in each game, often more through all-round options. And so their bowling keeps them in games, but the games are closer because their batting can't hit fifth gear.

You can see that these teams just aren't producing players at the spicy end of the strike rates. It means they have to be really good on the other side of the ball, and their success will not be as consistent. Because eventually you come up against the top teams who have Stoinis, Rossow and Finn Allen. It is hard to grind them down, but against the teams you can do that against, Bangladesh have ground out two wins against Zimbabwe and the Netherlands.

Their hope now is their batting finds someone special, or they work out how to grind down everyone.

Taskin and Fizz

Bangladesh's prime fast bowlers dominated Zimbabwe. They could scarcely have done more to get their side in a position to win. They conceded just 34 runs between the two of them and picked up five wickets.

Taskin ended up player of the match and he was onto Zimbabwe's batters straight away. A wicket with his third ball. That means he has taken wickets in this World Cup with the first, second and third ball. Plus he got another in his next over, final figures of 3/19 - an economy rate of 4.8. He now has 8 wickets in three games in this tournament.

He was ably supported by Mustafizur who finished with 2/15 at an even more impressive economy of 3.8.

We said in an earlier piece that if Taskin can take wickets earlier, it means he creates a brilliant partnership with Mustafizur. That is what we saw today. In the last 12 months, Taskin Ahmed has been taking more than a wicket a game, and is doing what Bangladesh need. That allows for the spinners to control the middle and Fizz to clean up at the death.

Althought today, the Fizz got the crucial wicket of Sikandar Raza for 0, reducing Zimbabwe to 35/4 with a ball of the powerplay still to go – at that stage it looked very much like game over.

Final ball drama

Oh, this was crazy. With one ball left, lanky Blessing Muzarabani had to hit a six to win, or strike a four for the super over. Instead he was stumped.

The well-oiled post-match machine had fully cranked into gear. Sponsors boards were up for interviews to be done in front of. Broadcasters were out preparing to do them. Supporters cheering or commiserating in the stands.

The umpires meanwhile were still out in the middle, quibbling about something, replays of the last ball being shown on the big screen. But nobody was really paying attention, it just seemed like the sort of box-ticking pedantry they have to do even though nobody really cares.

Then suddenly everybody did care, replays showed the wicketkeeper's gloves in front of the stumps for the last ball stumping. No ball. To make the whole thing even better, its definitely not a law that most people are that familiar with (though it is one of my favourites).

Suddenly everyone had to clear off the outfield, the players had to go back and do the last ball again. Free hit, four to win instead of five. Mossadeq to Blessing Muzarabani round two.

In perfect cricket style the whole thing was a massive anticlimax. Sadly for Zimbabwe, their second attempt at the last ball of the match went much the same as the first. Blessing Muzarabani took a huge swing at Mossaddek and completely missed the ball.

Confusion, high drama and ultimately the whole thing had no bearing whatsoever on the result of the match. When cricket gets farce right it gets it really right.


Zimbabwe had looked dead after the powerplay, but then came the reply. It was led by Sean Williams. That man who played his first T20 in 2006. Despite that he only just appears in the top 400 run scorers, and he's never quite been seen as a strong enough batter at the higher levels.

But as we have covered before, Zimbabwe's batting has basically been Sikandar Raza or bust in this tournament. When he went for 0 in the sixth over, it seemed like today it would be bust.

Williams had not really fired with the bat early in the tournament, finding double figures just once in his first four games. That was in theory against the easier teams. And he has not had a great T20 batting career. Never scoring that many runs.But against Pakistan he found some form, his 31 was the centrepiece of Zimbabwe's not-very-good total.

He was superb here, staying calm first with Regis Chakabva as Zimbabwe rebuilt and then a little more explosively with Ryan Burl. It was clever batting, realising Taskin and Mustafizur could only bowl 8 overs between them, and targeting the rest.

He did brilliantly to get his side down to needing 19 from the final 9, and at that point they seemed like favourites. Any time anyone looked too far ahead though this game had other ideas, Williams run out brilliantly by Shakib attempting a risky single when pushing for those crucial late runs.

It was a heartbreaking end to a performance that really deserved to lead Zimbabwe to a famous win.


Several lifetimes into this tournament and finally Pakistan has won a game. I will not mention here that if Marcus Stoinis had been caught last World Cup Pakistan make it to the final and well, you know, they might have won.

That seems a million years away right now.

Now they are virtually out. It's still actually possible, but not really.

But while the points were good, I think ultimately they will be a bit disappointed they couldn't get even more of a Net Run rate boost. You restrict a team to 91, even if they are a bowling team, you really should be trying to get that score within 10 overs at worst. Perhaps they were a bit shy after the last game, but wickets don't matter in net run rate.

And Babar said they were disappointed to lose that many wickets afterwards. That is the wrong thinking. They should have been prepared to lose six or even seven wickets to get this total quick.

Because of how this tournament is unfurling, it may not matter. But while I get the points were the most important part, and the Dutch bowling has been good, it just seemed like a weird way to go about it.


They decided to bat first, because they hadn't so far this tournament t they hadn't yet. And if you had been watching them chase, you can understand why they wanted to see if that was holding their batting back. It was not.

That said, facing Pakistan at Perth is not a good matchup for an associate nation. Even Zimbabwe didn't make any runs when they won.

I could again go into the fact that the middle order hasn't worked, but I think some of those guys will start making voodoo dolls on me, Instead, let us praise the bowlers.

Paul Van Meekeren has been outstanding this tournament. He has bowled the most balls in the World Cup so far. And so with that kind of usage, you would have expected him to go for runs a few times. And probably not have a great average.

Well, after those 144 legal deliveries he has a bowling average of 19.4, and is going at under six runs an over. That's a special double. Even today he bowled fantastic against Pakistan with no runs to defend. He has just been incredible this tournament, even accounting for the fact it is a bowler's cup.

Almost all their bowlers are under eight runs an over.

Even their spinners, which I worried about before the tournament, have completely held up. Logan van Beek has struggled to get wickets but still managed a good econ. As a unit, they've had a great tournament.

Only Bas de Leede has had runs against him, but he still has taken victims. And is the fifth bowler. Although, he didn't bowl today, and that was because he got hit in the face when batting and was taken off under the concussion protocol.

The Dutch have thrown him up the order this tournament. It made sense, and I think they knew that he wasn't quite ready. But even moments like today let him know what is needed going forward. Batting first drop, at Perth, against Haris Rauf is a really good way for him to learn what he will need to handle as he becomes more important for this Dutch side.

Hopefully he is ok.