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South Africa narrowly avoided a humbling defeat at the hands of the Netherlands to keep their World T20 challenge alive in Chittagong.
Defending a total of 145-9, the Proteas got over the winning line with six runs to spare when tailender Timm van der Gugten was caught by Quinton de Kock off the bowling of Beuran Hendricks to bring the Netherlands’ innings to a close at 139 all out with 1.2 overs of a thrilling contest remaining.
Batting first, Hashim Amla top scored for South Africa with a knock of 43 off 20 deliveries before becoming the first of Ahsan Malik’s five victims.
Only four of his team-mates reached double figures and a target of 146 looked eminently achievable for a Dutch side looking to bounce back from their drubbing against Sri Lanka.
And the Netherlands got off to a flying start in pursuit of what would have been a third win against an ICC Member country, openers Stephan Myburgh and Michael Swart putting on 58 for the first wicket in 35 balls.
Myburgh was by far and away the dominant partner until his knock of 51 came to an end when clean bowled by Jean-Paul Duminy with the score at 80-2 off 7.5 overs.
Further wickets fell at regular intervals thereafter as nerves crept in, Imran Tahir claiming four victims for the Proteas.
When Mudassar Bukhari was caught off the bowling of Lonwabo Tsotsobe Netherlands still needed 12 runs to win off 14 balls with one wicket remaining.
Dale Steyn dropped tailender van der Gugten off the very next ball, but the Proteas did not have to wait long before wrapping up their first win of the tournament at the second attempt.