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USA loses to South Africa in opening game of second round of T20 Cricket World Cup as historic run continues

<i>Jan Kruger/ICC/Getty Images via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Steven Taylor bats against South Africa.
Jan Kruger/ICC/Getty Images via CNN Newsource
Steven Taylor bats against South Africa.

By Ben Morse, CNN

(CNN) — The USA lost to South Africa in their opening game of the second round of the men’s T20 Cricket World Cup on Wednesday as its historic run at the tournament continued.

Having elected to bowl first, the USA were pegged back by some aggressive batting from South Africa, with the Proteas finishing their 20 overs on 194 runs.

And although there were some promising glimpses from the USA batting order, they fell short of South Africa’s score by 18 runs.

Despite the defeat, the USA’s remarkable run at the tournament – it’s the country’s debut at the T20 World Cup – is not over, with games against the West Indies and England still to come in the Super 8 stage.

The eight teams who qualified from the group stages for the Super 8 round of the T20 World Cup are split into two sections where they will play one another in a round-robin format, with the top two countries advancing to the semifinal stage.

South Africa’s win over the USA was the Super 8 round’s opening game. All 12 games in the Super 8 stage are being played across four Caribbean islands – Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Vincent.

New steps

The USA have been one of the talking points of the T20 World Cup so far, thanks to its shock victory over Pakistan and close defeat by India.

But in the Super 8 stage, there is a step-up in quality with only the best teams earning the right to progress.

And it was something the USA experienced first-hand from the outset in Antigua, with South Africa starting in strong fashion as opening batter Quinton de Kock aggressively took on the USA’s bowlers.

The 31-year-old de Kock, who is also the team’s wicketkeeper, brought his half century up off just 26 balls inside nine overs, with South Africa scoring over a run a ball. The team reached the 100-run mark before the halfway point of its innings.

Having entered the Super 8 stage with a 100% winning record, South Africa continued to pile on the runs before de Kock fell after a brilliant display when he was caught in the deep for 74 off of just 40 balls.

It got even better for the USA on the very next ball, with Harmeet Singh catching David Miller off his own bowling as the T20 World Cup debutants clawed their way back into the match.

As South Africa attempted to rebuild, the USA kept themselves in touch with more wickets, with Proteas captain Aiden Markram the next to fall for 46 off 32 balls off the bowling of the USA’s breakthrough star Saurabh Netravalkar.

Thanks to the batting of Heinrich Klaasen and Tristan Stubbs, however, South Africa was able to finish strongly and post a score of 194, meaning the USA faced the daunting task of needing 195 off their 20 overs to claim a historic victory.

In response, the USA started strongly through opening batter Steven Taylor, whose ability to hit big shots discombobulated the South African bowlers in the opening overs.

However, Taylor was out as he attempted another big shot off Kagiso Rabada’s bowling, only for his effort to fall short and into Klaasen’s waiting hands.

Rabada quickly picked up his second wicket of the match in his next over, with Nitish Kumar this time holing out to Stubbs to dent the USA’s run chase.

Captain Aaron Jones was next to fall off the spin bowling of Keshav Maharaj before former New Zealand international Corey Anderson was bowled emphatically by Anrich Nortje.

The regular fall of wickets stunted any real hopes the USA had of reaching South Africa’s total, despite an impressive half-century from Andries Gous.

And they were never able to recover with South Africa eventually able to round out an 18-run victory.

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