Obed McCoy’s four-for in vain as West Indies implode in chase
South Africa 167 for 8 (de Kock 72, McCoy 4-22, Bravo 3-25) beat West Indies 166 for 7 (Pooran 27, Lewis 27, Shamsi 2-13, Nortje 2-29) by 1 run
We asked for a nail-biter and we got it. South Africa defended 19 runs off the last two overs; Kagiso Rabada defended eight off the last two balls as South Africa took a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.
For the third match in succession, Kieron Pollard put South Africa in to bat, and like in the previous game, West Indies stumbled in a chase of 160 plus; they have only managed to chase this score twice in their last 11 games.
Earlier in the afternoon, Quinton de Kock proved to be their nemesis again in top-scoring with 72, before Obed McCoy and Dwayne Bravo shared seven wickets between them. McCoy ended with career-best 4 for 22, which didn’t prove to be enough.
50 in his 50th
The effects of unburdening de Kock from the captaincy have been obvious on this tour. He followed up his career-best 141* in the first Test with 96 in the second, two scores over 25 in the first two T20Is and then a seventh T20I half-century here in his 50th T20I appearance.
He set the tone in the third over when he took 15 runs off Andre Russell’s opening over, courtesy two fours and a six. He rebuilt with Aiden Markram after Obed McCoy’s double strike in the fifth over and attacked Fabian Allen’s left-arm spin, something South Africa had been reluctant to do in the previous two matches.
He also put together a 60-run stand for the fourth-wicket with Rassie van der Dussen, the best of South Africa’s innings. It appeared as if he’d bat through but moved outside offstump to try and pull Dwayne Bravo over square leg but handed Lendl Simmons a simple catch in the 18th over.
The Real McCoy
The ever-impressive left-armer Obed McCoy bettered his career-best 3 for 25 from the second game here with figures of 4 for 22. Apart from a beamer down the leg-side that cost five runs, he made a mark. He struck in the fifth over when Reeza Hendricks pulled a short ball straight to a running Allen at deep backward square, and then deceived South Africa captain Temba Bavuma with a back of the hand slower ball.
Looking to go over the top, Bavuma sliced this with Shimron Hetmeyer running across from mid-off to take the catch. South Africa ended the Powerplay on 51 for 2, their lowest in the series so far.
McCoy would have a third, but for Jason Holder shelling a running catch at long-on off de Kock. McCoy made up for in the penultimate over when he bowled George Linde with a slower ball and had Rassie van der Dussen caught at short third, trying to smack it over long-on. McCoy’s pace of the ball left South African about 15 runs adrift of what Bavuma thought would be a par score.
5 for 17 plays 3 for 14
South Africa lost momentum in the last three overs of their innings when they lost 5 wickets for 17 runs. That was the difference between a score under 170 and one closer to 200 and remains a cause for concern, especially sans a seam-bowling allrounder.
But West Indies also have their problems in the middle. They promoted Holder to No. 3 for the first time in his career and while he took on Linde and Markram, he miscued an Ngidi slower ball to end the experiment.
Hetmeyer, playing for the first time in the series, also targeted Linde and Markram but couldn’t get Shamsi past Rabada at point. And Kieron Pollard failed for the second successive time in the series when he yorked himself by charging Rabada and missing a flick to leave the lower-order to do the rest.
Final flourish, and squeeze
West Indies needed 44 runs off the last four overs, and Andre Russell transferred pressure onto the South African attack with back to back sixes off Nortje before mishitting an attempted third maximum and being dropped by a back-pedalling Bavuma at extra cover. The rest of that over brought just two runs and the wicket of Russell to put the ball back in the batting team’s court.
Nicholas Pooran, who has had a poor series so far, smashed Ngidi over midwicket for six off the second ball of the 18th over but with only three more runs off the remaining three balls, West Indies still had work to do. It was Nortje who put South Africa in the pound seats with an over that cost just four runs and brought the wicket of Pooran, who missed a paddle and was out lbw, and left Rabada with 15 to defend in the last over.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent