Andires Gous' heroic 80 falls short as South Africa beat USA by 18 runs

NEW YORK - Andries Gous's unbeaten 80 was not enough to overcome Quinton de Kock’s explosive 74, as South Africa defeated the United States of America (USA) by 18 runs in the 41st match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024. 

Chasing a challenging target of 195, the USA managed to score 176/6, despite a valiant effort from Gous. South Africa, sent in to bat first, posted a formidable total, thanks to a massive second-wicket partnership between de Kock and Markram. The Proteas had a shaky start with opener Reeza Hendricks falling in the third over for 11 off 11 balls. 

However, Quinton de Kock quickly shifted the momentum, smashing 28 runs off Jasdeep Singh in the fourth over. De Kock and Markram then took calculated risks, adding 110 runs for the second wicket. Harmeet Singh finally broke the partnership by dismissing de Kock for a quickfire 74 off 40 balls, featuring seven fours and five sixes. 

Harmeet struck again on the next delivery, sending David Miller back for a golden duck, leaving South Africa at 126/3. Markram contributed with a 32-ball 46 before falling in the 15th over. Heinrich Klaasen and Tristian Stubbs then added 53 crucial runs, taking South Africa to 194/4. Klaasen remained unbeaten on 36 off 22 balls, while Stubbs scored 20 not out from 16 balls. For the USA, Saurabh Netravalkar and Harmeet Singh each took two wickets. In response, Gous anchored the USA's innings with an unbeaten 80, but the team fell short. Kagiso Rabada was the pick of the South African bowlers, claiming 3/18. 

Quinton de Kock was named player of the match. “We've had some tricky wickets, so it was nice to spend some time in the middle today. The USA put us under pressure towards the end. It was a great game. We've still got a couple more games to win. Different venue, different surfaces. You never know what you're going to get out there,” said de Kock. 

South Africa’s captain Aiden Markram expressed satisfaction with the performance, saying, “Pretty happy with the performance as a whole. A couple of overs here and there we need to tidy up. I think you always feel you need more runs. But the wicket definitely changes and gets a bit slower. A couple of lessons to take, but nice for the batters to be in the middle and get some runs, especially for Quinny to really get his flow.” 

USA Captain Aaron Jones reflected on the close defeat, saying, “Hard to take a defeat after coming so close. But we did lack discipline in the bowling at times. Once we play good cricket, we can beat any team in the world. But we need to be a lot more disciplined.” 

SCORES IN BRIEF
SOUTH AFRICA 194-4 (Quinton de Kock 74, Aiden Markram 46, Heinrich Klaasen 36*; Saurabh Netravalkar 2-21, Harmeet Singh 2-24) beat USA 176-6 Andries Gous 86*, Harmeet Singh 38; Kagiso Rabada 3-18) by 18 runs.

Azhar Khan is an accomplished senior sports journalist with extensive experience in the field. He can be reached at azharmasood786@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @azharmasood786