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  • Bangladesh v South Africa, T20 tri-series, Harare

Amla assault sets up South Africa win

The Report by Firdose Moonda
June 19, 2012
South Africa 209 for 3 (Amla 88*, Levi 37) beat Bangladesh 170 for 8 (Mushfiqur 50*, Peterson 2-16) by 39 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Hashim Amla on way to an unbeaten 88 © AFP
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Results sometimes don't tell the whole story, and this one should not be read into too deeply, if only for the reason that South Africa and Bangladesh were not playing against each other. Instead, they were playing against themselves. South Africa's goals - to accumulate runs quickly and ensure their opposition was never in a position to do the same - were in stark contrast to Bangladesh's, whose main task was to see out their 20 overs after being obliterated when they were bowling.

If looked at from that perspective, both teams won and lost. South Africa made a score in excess of 200 and kept Bangladesh 39 runs away but were unimpressive and lazy with the ball. Bangladesh scored 170 and their captain, Mushfiqur Rahim, weighed in with a half-century. The one thing the teams had in common was butterfingers. South Africa dropped three catches and Bangladesh two as both teams showed signs of rustiness.

South Africa played the opening combination that was used in New Zealand - Richard Levi and Hashim Amla - and the duo immediately sank their teeth in. They posted 70 runs in a little over six overs, making Mushfiqur's hope of keeping South Africa below 160 seem nothing more than wishful thinking.

While Levi scored his runs through force, Amla, who hit his highest Twenty20 score, did it through finesse. Bangladesh had no answers. Ziaur Rahman gave them some respite when he removed Levi with a slower ball for 37 off 21 deliveries. Amla would have gone shortly after, but Mortaza put down a tough chance at short cover. Amla brought up his half-century with his first six of the innings, arguably the shot of the day, using his wrists to hit high over extra cover.

Albie Morkel was moved up to No. 4 but did not produce the expected fireworks. That Morkel did not deliver did not matter, because Amla continued to pepper the boundary. JP Duminy joined the plunder, pulling at will in the last over. Young Abul Hasan had little composure and sent down short ball after short ball to end a tough 20 overs for Bangladesh.

Bangladesh never looked up to chasing at a rate of 10.50 runs per over but did not disgrace themselves either. Mohammad Ashraful showed early intent against the short balls from Tsotsobe, cutting and pulling powerfully. Anamul Haque, who replaced the injured Tamim Iqbal, could not provide suitable company, getting caught at fine leg off a Marchant de Lange short ball.

Ashraful almost lost a second partner when Jahurul Islam edged a full ball from Morkel but the wicketkeeper Dane Vilas could not hold on as he dived to his right. After a 29-run stand in five overs, Ashraful eventually looked to force the pace but spliced a Tsotsobe short ball to a diving Amla at mid-on.

Bangladesh suffered a mini-collapse in the next over, when Jahurul tried to take on Robin Peterson but holed out to long-on, and Nasir Hossain top-edged to Morkel at third man. Peterson's double-wicket maiden contributed to his figures of 2 for 16.

At 49 for 4, it could have unravelled for Bangladesh but Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah did not allow that to happen. They had the luxury of facing the weakest bowler in South Africa's arsenal, Wayne Parnell, who bowled too short. The pair put on 61 runs before a Morkel slower ball accounted for Mahmudullah.

Mushfiqur hung around until the end as South Africa's bowlers seemed to interest and gave away runs, failing to control their lengths. He further irritated South Africa when he offered Tsotsobe a catch that the fielder let through for four. Mushfiqur reached 50 off the last ball of the innings, a full one from Parnell, which was driven for four. Bangladesh had seen out 20 overs, but it was a mismatch.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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