South Africa and Netherlands could abandon their three-match ODI series without a match being completed as escalating COVID-19 concerns coincided with a rain abandonment on Friday.

Worries about an emerging strand of the coronavirus have caused a number of countries, including the Netherlands, to halt incoming flights from South Africa.

The Dutch cricket board – the KNCB – has held discussions with Cricket South Africa (CSA) about prospects for the scheduled second and third matches in their series going ahead on Sunday and Wednesday, promising a swift decision.

The first game at SuperSport Park in Centurion fell victim to the weather on Friday, with South Africa totting up 277-8 before Netherlands were halted at 11-0 in their reply as rain fell.

Centurion is located in Gauteng Province, which is where a large proportion of cases of the new COVID-19 strand have been detected. SuperSport Park is also due to stage the second and third games in the series.

In a joint statement, both boards said: "Cricket South Africa and Koninklijke Nederlandse Cricket Bond are aware of news reports doing the rounds regarding the Netherlands tour to South Africa being cancelled or postponed.

"Both boards can confirm that following updated information, it is highly unlikely that the visiting team will be able to fly out of South Africa before their scheduled flight. The KNCB is reviewing all of its options, while prioritising the physical and mental well-being of its players.

"A decision on the continuation of the series will follow in the next 24 to 48 hours, while all flight options are being considered."

Kyle Verreynne anchored South Africa's innings in the opening ODI, coming in at 24-2 and going on to make 95 from 112 deliveries.

Janneman Malan (16) and Reeza Hendricks (6) faltered at the top of the order as both fell to Fred Klaassen (2-45), but Verreynne and Zubayr Hamza (56) put on 119 for the third wicket.

A top-edged pull from Hamza off Brandon Glover saw Scott Edwards take an easy catch to break up that alliance, and Verreynne was one big hit away from a maiden international century when he flogged a full toss from Vivian Kingma to Bas de Leede on the deep square leg boundary.

Andile Phehlukwayo flayed the Dutch attack for 48 from 22 balls, hitting six sixes before Glover improved his expensive figures slightly to 2-70 by bowling the all-rounder with the final ball of the innings.

Rassie Erasmus and SA Rugby have withdrawn their intention to appeal against sanctions imposed and have apologised to match officials for misconduct during the British and Irish Lions series.

South Africa director of rugby Erasmus was last week banned from all rugby activities for two months and suspended from matchday activities until September 30 next year.

Erasmus was in hot water after he accused the Lions of "reckless and dangerous" play in their 22-17 win in the first Test in July and hit out at the standard of refereeing from Nic Berry.

The World Cup-winning coach also made the claims in a 62-minute video clip posted on social media as he highlighted what he felt were a number of calls that went against the world champions.

Erasmus also retweeted clips from an anonymous Twitter user, alleged to be one of his own accounts, highlighting "questionable calls".

World Rugby last week revealed that an independent misconduct committee found the 49-year-old was guilty of all six charges that were brought against him.

The 49-year-old was also warned about his future conduct and told to issue an apology to the relevant match officials, while a fine of £20,000 was issued to SA Rugby along with a warning over the governing body's conduct going forward.

Both Erasmus and SA Rugby stated they would exercise their rights to appeal the verdicts, but both parties have now decided against challenging the sanctions.

A statement released by SA Rugby on Thursday said: "SA Rugby and Rassie Erasmus wish to apologise to the match officials appointed to the first Test of the Springboks' Series against the British and Irish Lions.

"We also confirm that SA Rugby and Erasmus have advised World Rugby that they withdraw their Notice of Appeal and will not lodge an appeal against the sanctions imposed by the Judicial Committee.

"This has been a highly stressful and charged environment with unusual pressures placed on all concerned and we have no wish to prolong that experience for anyone.

"We have drawn a line under the incident and only wish to look forward. We will respect the outcomes of the hearing, allowing our national teams and rugby operations to plan with clarity for the coming months."

A World Rugby statement said: "World Rugby welcomes the public apology from SA Rugby and Rassie Erasmus to the match officials involved in the first test between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions this year and the matter is closed."

Tabraiz Shamsi says there is no chance South Africa will be "slacking off" when they face the Netherlands in a historic three-match ODI series.

Temba Bavuma is among a host of South Africa players to be given a rest for matches that will form part of the Cricket World Cup Super League, so Keshav Maharaj leads the side in a series that starts at SuperSport Park on Friday.

South Africa are ninth in the Super League standings, while the Netherlands are bottom but have only played three matches as they eye a place in the 2023 World Cup.

The Dutch are very much underdogs for their first full international series against the Proteas in South Africa.

Shamsi says South Africa will not be taking anything for granted as they look to put the disappointment of missing out on the T20 World Cup semi-finals behind them.

The spinner said: "It is going to be a good challenge. They are obviously going to be up to the fight but so are we because we have some new guys in the squad. That's a lovely opportunity for all of us to put in performances and to put our hands up.

"As you have seen, we have a World Cup basically every year and we always want to win but the simple thing is to prepare as best as we can.

"We can't take these guys lightly because they have quality players in the squad. They have a lot of guys who have been playing county cricket as well but we are definitely not slacking off.

"Just looking at the opposition, they have some quality players in their squad and we will have to be at our best to beat them and get all the Super League points."

 

Proteas pacers can show strength in depth

South Africa are set to unleash a new-look pace attack on the Netherlands after Lungi Ngidi joined the list of absentees following his positive coronavirus test.

With Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje rested, there will be a chance for Sisanda Magala, Daryn Dupavillon and Junior Dala to charge in.

The experienced Wayne Parnell makes a long-awaited return, while Dwaine Pretorius and Andile Phehlukwayo are also included.

Khaya Zondo is also back in the squad over three years after the middle-order batsman played his last ODI.

 

Feeling at home on tour

The tourists will have a former South Africa international in their ranks as Roelof van der Merwe returns to his homeland.

Colin Ackermann, Stephan Myburgh, Brandon Glover and Clayton Floyd were also born in South Africa, while Ryan ten Doeschate has taken on a mentor role following his recent retirement. 

The Netherlands have been smarting from failing to qualify for the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup, having lost all three matches.

Marcus Smith nailed a last-gasp penalty as England rounded out their November internationals with a 27-26 win over South Africa in a barnstorming Twickenham Test.

Making only a third Test start, the unflappable Smith made the decisive contribution in a match that looked like getting away from the White Rose after an enterprising performance was mixed with ill-discipline.

England outscored South Africa three tries to one but a penalty count of 18 allowed the Springboks to stay in the game and the visitors were leading until the last minute.

However, the win marks a measure of revenge for Eddie Jones' side, who were beaten in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final the last time these two sides went head-to-head.

England were dominant in the first half and Manu Tuilagi crossed after fine work from Smith opened the play for Henry Slade to make the long pass.

The nerveless Handre Pollard put South Africa on the board prior to Freddie Steward showing great power to bundle over from close range and extend England's lead.

But England's lack of composure at the breakdown meant the lead was only five points at the break, with Pollard nailing three more kicks to Smith's one, and more poor discipline saw South Africa inch ahead thanks to Pollard and Elton Jantjies kicks.

A fine breakaway score from Joe Marchant was answered by an unconverted score from Makazole Mapimpi after Will Stuart was sin-binned, and Frans Steyn kicked another penalty for South Africa.

But Springboks skipper Siya Kolisi saw yellow himself, before another penalty in front of the posts in the final minute allowed Smith to have the final say.


Smith, Steward offer bright glimpse of the future

Smith may only be in the infancy of his international career but he already looks an assured presence at this level.

Full-back Steward put in a fine performance at full-back too. The pair look a very exciting prospect for an England side who played with plenty of attacking intent and backed up a fine win over Australia last time out.

Young front row survives the test but penalties a worry

Much of the narrative ahead of this one was whether the inexperienced duo of hooker Jamie Blamire and prop Bevan Rodd could cope against South Africa's pack.

For the most part they passed the test superbly, but for all their endeavour England were guilty of giving away far too many cheap penalties. On another day, and against a player of the quality of Pollard who hurt them so badly in the World Cup final, it could have been far more costly.

South Africa legend AB de Villiers has confirmed his retirement from all forms of cricket at the age of 37.

The Proteas great made the announcement on Friday, calling time on a glittering career that saw him win 114 Test caps, feature in 228 ODIs and make 78 T20I outings.

He stepped down from the international stage in 2018 but continued to represent Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, as well as feature in other T20 competitions. 

However, the prolific batsman - an excellent fielder who also donned the wicketkeeping gloves - will no longer showcase his incredible talents after deciding to call it a day.

"It has been an incredible journey, but I have decided to retire from all cricket," he wrote on Twitter.

"Ever since the back yard matches with my older brothers, I have played the game with pure enjoyment and unbridled enthusiasm. Now, at the age of 37, that flame no longer burns so brightly.

"That's the reality I must accept – and, even if it may seem sudden, that is why I am making this announcement. I've had my time. Cricket has been exceptionally kind to me.

"Cricket has been exceptionally kind to me. Whether playing for the Titans, or the Proteas, or RCB, or around the world, the game has given me unimagined experiences and opportunities, and I will always be grateful.

"I would like to thank every team-mate, every opponent, every coach, every physio and every staff member who has travelled the same path, and I am humbled by the support I have received in South Africa, in India, wherever I have played.

"Last, I am aware that nothing would have been possible without the sacrifices made by my family – my parents, my brothers, my wife Danielle and my children. I look forward to the next chapter of our lives when I can truly put them first."

De Villiers last played for South Africa in a Test match against Australia back in March 2018, having debuted against England in 2004.

He scored 8,765 runs in Tests at an average of 50.66, with 22 centuries as well as taking 222 catches, 101 of those as a keeper.

De Villiers was even more impressive in the ODI format, averaging 53.50 and racking up 25 hundreds in 228 appearances, while he made 1,672 runs in T20I 75 knocks at an average of 26.12. 

The veteran's 157 matches for RCB yielded 4,522 runs at a strike rate of 158.33.

Rookie duo Bevan Rodd and Jamie Blamire will start in the front row for England when they face world champions South Africa on Saturday.

Blamire, who has scored four tries in five games for his country, gets his chance from the start with Jamie George ruled out due to a knee injury and prop Rodd comes into the team alongside Kyle Sinckler.

Flanker Courtney Lawes captains the Red Rose for the second time in the absence of Owen Farrell, who suffered an ankle injury in the win over Australia last weekend.

Hooker Nic Dolly could make his debut off the bench as Eddie Jones' side go in search of revenge for the 2019 World Cup final defeat.

Joe Marchant gets the nod to start on the right wing, with Manu Tuilagi moving to inside centre.

Prop Joe Marler is among the replacements, having missed the defeat of the 32-16 of the Wallabies after testing positive for coronavirus.

England have not lost to the Springboks at Twickenham since 2014, when they were edged out 31-18.

 

England team: Freddie Steward, Joe Marchant, Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi, Jonny May, Marcus Smith, Ben Youngs; Bevan Rodd, Jamie Blamire, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Jonny Hill, Courtney Lawes (captain), Sam Underhill, Tom Curry.

Replacements: Nic Dolly, Joe Marler, Will Stuart, Charlie Ewels, Sam Simmonds, Alex Dombrandt, Raffi Quirke, Max Malins.

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has been banned from all rugby activities for two months for his conduct towards match officials during a series win over the British and Irish Lions.

Erasmus, head coach of the Springboks for their 2019 World Cup triumph, has also been suspended from all matchday activities with immediate effect until September 30 next year.

World Rugby on Wednesday revealed that an independent misconduct committee found the 49-year-old was guilty of all six charges that were brought against him.

Erasmus accused the Lions of "reckless and dangerous" play in their 22-17 win in the first Test in July and hit out at the standard of refereeing from Nic Berry.

He also made the claims in a 62-minute clip posted on social media as he highlighted what he felt were a number of calls that went against the world champions.

Erasmus also retweeted clips from an anonymous Twitter user, alleged to be one of his own accounts, highlighting "questionable calls".

In summary, World Rugby revealed he had been guilty of threatening a match official that unless a requested meeting took place, he would publish footage containing clips criticising the match official's performance and then making good on that threat; published or permitted to be published the video containing numerous comments that were either abusive, insulting and/or offensive to match officials.

He was also found to have attacked, disparaged and/or denigrated the game and the match officials; did not accept or observe the authority and decisions of match officials; published or caused to be published criticism of the manner in which a match official handled a match.

The committee also deemed Erasmus to have engaged in conduct or activity that may impair public confidence in the integrity and good character of match official(s); and brought the game into disrepute when he published or caused to be published the 'Erasmus Video'.

Erasmus was warned about his future conduct and told to issue an apology to the relevant match officials.

SA Rugby were also charged with not ensuring Erasmus complied with the World Rugby Code of Conduct and/or permitted him to commit acts of misconduct; and/or did not publicly correct any comments or publications by or on behalf of the director of rugby that amounted to misconduct.

A fine of £20,000 was issued to SA Rugby along with a warning as to future conduct. The organisation was told there must be an apology to the relevant match officials.

SA Rugby issued a joint statement along with Erasmus confirming both parties will exercise their rights to appeal the verdicts.

England captain Owen Farrell and hooker Jamie George have been ruled out Saturday's Test against South Africa at Twickenham.

Farrell sustained an ankle injury during the 32-15 victory over Australia last Saturday after his Saracens team-mate George was force off with a knee problem.

Eddie Jones has brought Harry Elrington and Jack Singleton into his squad to face the world champions.

Prop Joe Marler will return for international duty on Friday after completing a 10-day isolation following his positive coronavirus test.

Farrell had missed the thrashing of Tonga after the skipper returned a positive COVID-19 test, but started at inside centre in the defeat of the Wallabies.

Jamie Blamire scored his sixth try in only four Tests after coming on to replace George and is poised to start when England do battle with the Springboks.

 

 

David Warner, Jos Buttler and Babar Azam are among those to have been named in the Official ICC Men's T20 World Cup's Team of the Tournament.

The T20 World Cup came to a close on Sunday after Australia beat New Zealand by eight-wickets in the final in Abu Dhabi.

The team was selected by a panel of commentators and journalists.

"As with any team selection there will be varying opinions, and robust discussion on the final composition of the squad," one of those panellists, Ian Bishop, told the ICC's official website. "The panel respects that, and we encourage the strong debate that will ensue.

"This team was incredibly difficult to select over such a highly competitive tournament. Selections were based predominantly on the Super 12 onward to the final.

"We endeavoured to select players as close to their initial team position where possible. This intention was not always a reality, as some compromises had to be made.”

The team includes players from champions Australia, runners-up New Zealand, as well as England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa. 

 

David Warner (Australia)

Arguably the most obvious selection as the man who was the ICC's Player of the Tournament. Despite questions about his form before the World Cup, Warner scored an impressive 289 runs at an average of 48.16.

Although he did not top the table for most runs, highest innings or highest average, Warner's impact was unquestionable. His 65 against Sri Lanka, 89 not out against West Indies, 49 against Pakistan in the semi-finals and then 53 in the final were vital for the champions.

Jos Buttler (England)

The hard-hitting Buttler was the only player to score a century at the tournament, while he finished fourth in the list for most runs. His tally of 269 included a fantastic 71 from 32 balls in England’s Super 12 victory over Australia, as well as his 101 not out against Sri Lanka.

Babar Azam (Pakistan)

The top run-scorer and only player to break the 300-run mark (303), Babar has been named as captain of the ICC Team of the Tournament. He scored four fifties at his first T20 World Cup, starting with his 68 not out against old rivals India, which helped lead Pakistan to a memorable 10-wicket victory.

Charith Asalanka (Sri Lanka)

Asalanka came fifth in the list for most runs, which is impressive when you consider Sri Lanka exited at the Super 12 stage. The 24-year-old scored 231 runs at an average of 46.2, including an unbeaten 80 off 49 balls against Bangladesh.

Aiden Markram (South Africa)

Moved to a middle-order role for this tournament, Markram seemed to thrive as his 40 off 36 balls nearly saw the Proteas beat Australia in the Super 12s. An unbeaten 51 from 26 balls against West Indies and 52 off 25 against England was, though, not enough to help South Africa progress.

Moeen Ali (England)

England's ever-reliable all-rounder took seven wickets from his 14 overs during the tournament, as well as hitting 92 runs at an average of 46.

Moeen's bowling figures included 2-17, 2-18 and 2-15 to heap pressure on opponents throughout, while his batting performances included a fine 51 from 37 balls against New Zealand in the semi-finals.

Wanindu Hasaranga (Sri Lanka)

Leg-spinner Hasaranga was comfortably top of the wicket-taking chart with 16, three ahead of Adam Zampa and Trent Boult in joint-second.

This included a hat-trick against South Africa, but like Moeen, Hasaranga also contributed with the bat, striking a vital 71 against Ireland in the first round and a defiant 34 from 21 balls against England in the Super 12s.

Adam Zampa (Australia)

Another spinner who could not be left out, Zampa took 13 wickets and averaged just 5.81 runs against per over, often keeping the run rate down impeccably in the middle overs. The 29-year-old, who his captain Aaron Finch labelled as the player of the tournament, can also boast the best figures of the World Cup with a tremendous 5-19 against Bangladesh.

Josh Hazlewood (Australia)

Like his team-mate Warner, Hazlewood did not top any individual tables but came through with big performances when they were needed. His 11 wickets included a 4-39 against West Indies that played a big part in sealing a semi-final place, before the paceman took a ruthless 3-16 in the final.

Trent Boult (New Zealand)

Boult was the top wicket-taking seamer at the tournament (13) and played a huge role in getting the Black Caps to the final. His average of 6.25 overs conceded per over was impressive considering he was mostly used during powerplays and at the death.

Anrich Nortje (South Africa)

Nortje took a wicket in every match he played at his first T20 World Cup, taking nine overall at an average of 11.55. His most noteworthy contribution was an explosive 3-8 from 3.2 overs against Bangladesh to help skittle the Tigers out for just 84.

12th man: Shaheen Afridi (Pakistan)

The 21-year-old burst into the World Cup with his pace bowling, removing Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli in Pakistan's opening game against India. Afridi took seven wickets overall, earning him a spot as first reserve in this star-studded team.

South Africa held their nerve in a terrific tussle to win 23-18 against a Wales side who were left to bemoan the moment a pitch invader cost them a likely try.

On a wet evening at the Principality Stadium, this game remained on a knife-edge throughout, the only points coming from the boots of Dan Biggar, Handre Pollard and Frans Steyn until Malcolm Marx crossed the Welsh line seven minutes from the end.

Elton Jantjies booted a penalty with the last kick of the contest, resulting in the five-point winning margin.

Wales had been level at 15-15 in the 63rd minute when a spectator burst onto the pitch and got in the way just as a chance to break through the South Africa defence presented itself.

Liam Williams looked to have a near-enough clear run to the left corner, but the presence of the intruder, with security staff looking to grapple him away from the action, meant momentum went and the chance was lost.

This was a thundering clash throughout, South Africa handling the early threat posed by Wales wing Louis Rees-Zammit, as Biggar and Pollard kept the scoreboard ticking along.

Both sides had a player yellow-carded for persistent team infringements before the break, with Ox Nche and Rhys Carre sent to the bin, and Wales led 12-9 at the break.

The hosts nudged 15-9 ahead but were pegged back to 15-15 as South Africa rallied after a penalty from within his own half by Steyn. Wales then moved in front again after Biggar's sixth penalty, which followed moments after the intruder was escorted away, with supporters in the stands directing their anger his way.

South Africa's Makazole Mapimpi sprinted through to dot down but a TMO review picked up an offence and chalked it off. There was no denying the Boks in the 73rd minute though, when they drove irresistibly over the Welsh line, Marx grounding the ball.

Jantjies, on for Pollard, missed the conversion attempt from close to the touchline, meaning South Africa were just two points clear, but Wales could not find a response.


Close... as it was bound to be

It is now the case that 13 of the last 15 meetings between these teams have been decided by single-figure margins, with 11 of those games seeing the sides separated by six points or fewer at the final whistle.

Friend or foe?

It was unclear how or why the intruder came to be on the pitch, but Wales had every cause to be furious about the fan's presence. There was no doubt he was a distraction just as Wales got themselves into a position to threaten the try-line. Had Wales got over at that stage, there might have been a very different outcome.

Eoin Morgan vowed England would find a way to cope without Jason Roy if the hard-hitting opener is ruled out of the rest of the T20 World Cup.

A calf injury sustained by Roy in Saturday's thrilling clash with South Africa has put his hopes of featuring again at the tournament in doubt.

He retired hurt for 20 early in England's innings as Morgan's side made sure of a semi-final place, despite losing by 10 runs to the Proteas in Sharjah.

South Africa headed out of the tournament, due to their net run rate falling short of that of England and Australia, despite all three sides finishing Group 1 with four wins and one loss.

Roy had not been at his explosive best in the tournament, and England are confident they have players who can come in and prove able deputies.

"We've dealt with a lot of injuries in this tournament and pre-tournament – [Ben] Stokes, [Sam] Curran, [Jofra] Archer are not here, Tymal [Mills] goes down," Morgan said.

"Possibly Jason will be assessed tomorrow. We have a lot of talent coming in, so that gives us a huge amount of confidence.

"In the last couple of years, having built a core group of white-ball players, it allows us to delve into that depth and really explore it."

England paceman Mark Wood said on Sky Sports: "I'm disappointed for J-Roy. I'm sure from the pictures, you saw how disappointed he is. 

"He's pretty disappointed in the dressing room now, upset. He's a big character and a brilliant player for us.

"We've got plenty of good players and good depth, so someone will have to step up, but it's really sad for him.

"We've got [Jonny] Bairstow who opens in the 50 overs; James Vince is a reserve, so he could maybe come in and open the batting; and [Liam] Livingstone opens for Lancashire, so we've got plenty of options."

England made sure of a T20 World Cup semi-final place and took Australia through with them as South Africa went out in a blaze of glory in Sharjah.

The South Africans piled up 189-2 as Rassie van der Dussen plundered 94 from 60 deliveries and Aiden Markram cracked 52 from 25 balls, and they sealed a 10-run win on the back of a final-over hat-trick from Kagiso Rabada.

South Africa's hefty total meant England needed 87 to be sure of a semi-final place, with Eoin Morgan's team's net run rate sky-high coming into this game after four successive wins. Such calculations told South Africa they had to limit their opposition to no more than 131, if the Proteas were to squeeze Australia out of the final four, but England soon scotched those hopes.

Even as their tournament hopes were dashed, South Africa found focus, limiting Group 1 winners England to 179-8 in an absorbing finish capped by Rabada's feats.

Jos Buttler, England's star man in their early games, fell for just 26, and opener Jason Roy retired hurt, his prospects for the rest of the tournament in the balance after he suffered a calf muscle injury when setting off for a single.

England were soon past their primary target. Moeen Ali clattered Tabraiz Shamsi onto the stadium roof from the first ball of the 13th over, but he fell to the next delivery, looking to go deep again but holing out for 37 to David Miller at long-on.

Liam Livingstone flogged Rabada out of the ground for a 112-metre six, the longest in the tournament so far, and repeated the treatment from the next two balls as England officially condemned South Africa to their exit.

David Malan fell for 33 and England, effectively five wickets down, required 45 from 22 deliveries. Livingstone went for 28 from 17 balls, and England needed 14 from the final over. Rabada had Chris Woakes, Eoin Morgan and Chris Jordan caught in the deep from the first three deliveries and made sure there was no way back from that. 

Quinton de Kock (34) had earlier helped South Africa make a strong start. Van der Dussen lashed Woakes for two successive sixes at the start of the 16th over, with Markram following suit from the fifth ball as the England seamer suffered.

The maximums kept coming, with Van der Dussen hitting six in all and Markram blasting four, both batters hitting Jordan over the rope in the final over, but home beckons for the South Africans.
 

VAN DER DUSSEN TOPS PROTEAS BEST

Van der Dussen's bravura knock was the highest score by a South Africa player in T20 World Cup history, surpassing the 90 not out by Herschelle Gibbs against West Indies at the 2007 tournament.

KNOCKING WOOD TO ALL CORNERS

Mark Wood's first appearance for England in this tournament was not one he will look back on too fondly, given the England paceman conceded 0-47. In his 18th T20I appearance, this was just the second time when he has failed to take a wicket. The other occasion saw him return 0-53 when England lost a series decider to India in Ahmedabad in March.

South Africa edged closer to a T20 World Cup semi-final spot thanks to a straightforward six-wicket victory over struggling Bangladesh on Tuesday.

Few gave Bangladesh any hope of picking up their first win following the loss of talisman Shakib Al Hasan and they folded without putting up much of a fight, South Africa comfortably reaching their target of 85.

After a somewhat slow start for the South African bowlers, they soon found their stride as Kagiso Rabada (3-20) made a real dent in Bangladesh's batting order.

Rabada took Mohammad Naim (9) and Soumya Sarkar (0) in consecutive deliveries in the fourth over and got his third wicket in the sixth, with Reeza Hendricks catching Mushfiqur Rahim (0).

Wickets continued to tumble, with Mahmudullah (3) and Afif Hossain (0) also joining their fallen team-mates back in the pavilion by the end of the ninth over.

Mahedi Hasan (27) and Liton Das (24) did their best to give Bangladesh a chance but otherwise only Shamim Hossain (11) even reached double figures and they were all out for 84 with eight balls left, Anrich Nortje (3-8) finishing them off with successive wickets.

The Proteas' chase did not get off to the greatest start as they lost Hendricks (4) lbw to the impressive Taskin Ahmed (2-18) on the sixth delivery, though they soon found something of a groove with four boundaries before losing their next wicket, Quinton de Kock (16), in the fifth over.

Aiden Markram's day then ended before it had barely started, the right-hander caught by Naim at wide slip for a duck, but Temba Bavuma (31 not out) stepped up and hit three fours and a single six as he top-scored.

Rassie van der Dussen's dismissal after 22 off 27 deliveries meant little in the grand scheme, as South Africa comfortably crossed the line with 39 balls remaining.

Victory keeps them in second place in Group 1 behind England with one match left, and with a superior run rate to Australia.

Rabada cadabra!

The wicket in Abu Dhabi always looked promising for seamers and Rabada was in fine form. Nortje got even better figures with the ball, but Rabada's work was decisive in truly dismantling Bangladesh nice and early.

He said: "That wicket favoured the seamers and I'm just glad that today was my day. Every time we have the opportunity to practice, we try and implement what could possibly work for us. We always train hard, and today it paid off. It's nice to see the ball swing, especially in T20 cricket, but it wasn't a surprise, having seen that happen in the IPL games here."

Ahmed a bright spark

Ahmed was one of few reasons for optimism for Bangladesh here. Overall, he has enjoyed a decent tournament and he kept South Africa's batsmen on their toes, impressing his captain.

Mahmudullah said: "That was a poor batting display but having said that there was enough assistance in the pitch. Taskin has been bowling well in this tournament. We had the choice between Taskin and Fizzy [Mustafizur Rahman], but we went with Taskin because he has been bowling well."

David Miller and Kagiso Rabada blasted South Africa to a dramatic four-wicket T20 World Cup win over Sri Lanka after Wanindu Hasaranga took a hat-trick at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

The Proteas welcomed Quinton de Kock back into the side after he missed the win over West Indies on Tuesday following Cricket South Africa's decision that all Proteas players must take a knee prior to the remainder of their games in the tournament.

De Kock took the knee on Saturday in a united stance against racism before Sri Lanka were bowled out for 142 from their 20 overs in a Group 1 contest neither side could really afford to lose.

Pathum Nissanka made 72 off 58 balls, with the brilliant Tabraiz Shamsi and Dwaine Pretorius taking 3-17, while Anrich Nortje also impressed with figures of 2-27.

A fourth-wicket stand of 47 between captain Temba Bavuma (46) and Aiden Markram made it advantage South Africa, but Hasaranga (3-20) gave Sri Lanka the upper hand.

The spinner bowled Markram with the final ball of the 15th over and returned to dismiss Bavuma and Dwaine Pretorius at the start of the 18th – reducing the Proteas to 112-6 and completing his hat-trick.

South Africa needed 15 to win off the final over from Lahiru Kumara after Rabada had dispatched Dushmantha Chameera for a huge six and they got home with a ball to spare after Miller launched two maximums into the leg side.

The Proteas are on four points with two wins from three matches, while Sri Lanka are unlikely to qualify following their second loss.

 

Shamsi shows why he's number one

Shamsi showed how he has become the top-ranked T20 bowler in the world, dismissing Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Avishka Fernando caught and bowled as Sri Lanka lost wickets far too frequently.

The spinner, who has the most T20I wickets this year with 32 at an average of 13.62, bowled 13 dot balls and only conceded one boundary, also getting Hasaranga caught in the deep.

Pretorius and Nortje bowled superbly at the death, with only Nissanka ensuring Sri Lanka were able to make a significant total after clearing the rope three times and hitting six fours.

Miller time after Hasaranga heroics

The Proteas were in trouble on 26-2 after Chameera trapped Reeza Hendricks lbw before taking a catch off his own bowling to remove De Kock (12)

Bavuma led the recovery with a composed knock, but the craft of Hasaranga swung the game in Sri Lanka's favour.

Rabada flexed his muscles with a huge six off the penultimate over and struck a four to win over the powerful Miller middled two full deliveries from Kumara out of the ground.

Quinton de Kock took the knee before making his South Africa return in the T20 World Cup match against Sri Lanka on Saturday.

De Kock issued an apology after deciding against playing in the win over West Indies at Dubai International Stadium.

The wicketkeeper-batsman ruled himself out of that match following Cricket South Africa's decision that all Proteas must take a knee prior to the remainder of their games in the tournament.

De Kock has previously declined to make the gesture, but stated on Thursday he would take the knee and was "deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger" he had caused.

The 28-year-old said he was deeply hurt by being called a racist because of a misunderstanding.

De Kock was back in the team for the Group 1 showdown with Sri Lanka at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, replacing Heinrich Klaasen.

The former Proteas captain joined his team-mates by making the anti-racism gesture of taking the knee after Temba Bavuma won the toss and chose to field.

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