The Proteas scraped through to the last four, by winning three close games after losing one early on.
Lost to Sri Lanka by 5 runs: The ICC World T20 2014 began on a disappointing note for South Africa. Sri Lanka batted first in the game and put up a competitive 165 for 7. Imran Tahir did a great job for his team with 3 for 26 while Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel claimed two wickets each even as they were slightly on the expensive side. As they have so often done in the past, the Proteas crumbed in the chase after getting themselves into a good position. They were 110 for 2 in the 14th over when AB de Villiers was dismissed. South Africa ended up at 160 for 8 after 20 overs. The most disheartening aspect of their batting was that their top six all got into double figures but only one, JP Duminy, moved into the 30s. Quinton de Kock fell for 25, Amla 23, Miller 19 and Albie Morkel 12.
Beat New Zealand by 2 runs: South Africa resurrected their campaign with a close win against the Kiwis. Batting first, they put up 170 for 6 on the board owing to a masterful 86 not out from AB de Villiers, which came off only 43 balls and featured 10 fours and 3 sixes. Amla contributed a fluent 41 from 40 balls. In response, New Zealand seemed to be cruising at one stage, when they were 117 for 2 in the 14th However, some sensational death over bowling saw a South Africa- type choke from New Zealand. Bowling some deadly yorkers and pacy deliveries, Steyn finished off New Zealand with magnificent figures of 4 for 17.
Beat Netherlands by 6 runs: South Africa avoided a major embarrassment against the minnows thanks to a handy bowler effort from Imran Tahir. Batting first in the match, the Proteas were kept down to 145 for 5 after Amla’s blazing 43 from 22 balls. Ahsaan Malik claimed career best figures of 5 for 19 for Netherlands. In reply, the now famous Netherlands opener Stephan Myburgh slammed 51 from 28 balls, with 8 fours and 2 sixes. At one stage, Netherlands were cruising at 80 for 1 in the 8th over. However, Myburgh’s dismissal triggered a collapse, and Tahir’s 4 for 21 ensured South Africa were safe.
Beat England by 3 runs: Continuing with the pattern of close finishes, South Africa booked their place in the semis after another competent effort against England. Batting first, South Africa were led by de Villiers again, whose attacking unbeaten 69 off 28 balls saw South Africa reach 196 for 5. Earlier, opener Amla also played a key role with his 56 from 37 deliveries. England got off to a rollicking start courtesy Hales and Lumb, but Wayne Parnell rocked them with 3 for 31. Tahir also picked up the important wickets of Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler. England fought till the end, but South Africa escaped in spite of Steyn conceding 44 in his 4 overs.
--By A Cricket Analyst