Joseph and Shepherd lead West Indies to T20I series win over South Africa
West Indies bowler Alzarri Joseph, left, celebrates after dismissing South Africa's batsman Quinton de Kock during the final T20 cricket match between South Africa and West Indies, at Wanderers stadium, in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, March 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Magnificent bowling by paceman Alzarri Joseph, who claimed 5-40, and a thunderous unbeaten 44 in just 22 balls from Rosario Shepherd enabled the West Indies to win the third and decisive KFC T20I against South Africa by seven runs at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
The win clinched a 2-1 series triumph for the West Indies who have yet to be beaten in the format in South Africa and will certainly give Rovman Powell and his team plenty of confidence for the future.
A delighted Powell said afterwards: “After the last game, the guys were disappointed. We took all the positives from that game and tried to implement it today. The way Shepherd and Alzarri batted at the end was brilliant and then for Alzarri to pick up five wickets was really special.”
South Africa’s captain Aiden Markram said: “We let ourselves down with the bat a little. We fell a few runs short at the end of it. I have to give our bowlers credit for the way they responded after Sunday. There was a stage where we would have wanted to wrap it up for 160-170. Barring the last three overs, we were really good. Anything under 200 was the goal. 220 was perhaps par. To lose is not great but we are on the right path.”
South Africa, having won the toss, opted to bowl first and for much of the West Indies’ innings they looked likely to restrict their opponents to a total under 200, particularly when they had the visitors 167 for eight in the 16th over.
But Shepherd’s innings proved one of the main differences between the teams as his ninth-wicket partnership of 59 in 26 balls with Joseph – including 26 off Kagiso Rabada’s final over and 43 off the last two overs – proved key for the tourists as they finished on 220 for eight.
Joseph’s valuable unbeaten 14 in nine balls in that partnership was then trumped by his superb bowling in South Africa’s innings when the home team were looking to score 221 for victory.
Thanks largely to an elegant 83 in 44 balls by Reeza Hendricks, as well as a destructive cameo of 42 in 21 balls by Rilee Rossouw, South Africa reached 149 for two in the 15th over with Hendricks and David Miller seemingly poised to strike for victory.
But it was then that the West Indies bowlers in general, and player of the match Joseph in particular, showed their mettle, slowing South Africa’s momentum and picking up key wickets.
Shephered shows the way
It was Joseph who claimed the vital wickets of Hendricks and Miller, both caught on the long-on boundaries, before adding the cheap scalps of Heinrich Klaasen and Wayne Parnell to virtually clinch victory.
He also claimed the wicket of the dangerous Quinton de Kock up front, caught on the point boundary.
In the end, South Africa were left to score 26 off the last over delivered by Raymon Reifer but despite Markram hitting 18 off it, the home team’s fate was decided.
Earlier, the West Indies began well, with Kyle Mayers and Brandon King adding 39 for the first wicket in just 3.2 overs, including 22 off Lungi Ngidi’s first over, before Rabada in his first over bowled Mayers and then had the centurion in the last match, Johnson Charles, playing on first ball.
Nicholas Pooran and King then got stuck into Bjorn Fortuin as they enjoyed a 50 partnership before they suddenly lost five wickets for 55, attempting too much against some more fierce pace from Anrich Nortje, in particular, who bowled in the upper 140s, taking 2-36 in his four overs.
When Ngidi made a good recovery to get rid of Pooran (41 in 19 balls) and Roston Chase it seemed that the visitors had tried almost too hard to fight fire with fire on a good pitch that offered the pace bowlers a little more bounce and movement than was the case at SuperSport Park.
But Shepherd showed them the way at the death – and in Rabada’s closing over in particular – cracking two fours and three sixes in his 22-ball innings.
Johnson Charles was named player of the series. Shaun George, who announced his retirement as an umpire, appeared in his 50th T20I.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Rilee Rossouw, Aiden Markram (c), David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Wayne Parnell, Bjorn Fortuin, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi.
West Indies: Kyle Mayers, Brandon King, Johnson Charles, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Rovman Powell (c), Raymon Reifer, Romario Shepherd, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Alzarri Joseph, Jason Holder.