South Africa edged closer to a T20 World Cup semi-final spot thanks to a straightforward six-wicket victory over struggling Bangladesh on Tuesday.

Few gave Bangladesh any hope of picking up their first win following the loss of talisman Shakib Al Hasan and they folded without putting up much of a fight, South Africa comfortably reaching their target of 85.

After a somewhat slow start for the South African bowlers, they soon found their stride as Kagiso Rabada (3-20) made a real dent in Bangladesh's batting order.

Rabada took Mohammad Naim (9) and Soumya Sarkar (0) in consecutive deliveries in the fourth over and got his third wicket in the sixth, with Reeza Hendricks catching Mushfiqur Rahim (0).

Wickets continued to tumble, with Mahmudullah (3) and Afif Hossain (0) also joining their fallen team-mates back in the pavilion by the end of the ninth over.

Mahedi Hasan (27) and Liton Das (24) did their best to give Bangladesh a chance but otherwise only Shamim Hossain (11) even reached double figures and they were all out for 84 with eight balls left, Anrich Nortje (3-8) finishing them off with successive wickets.

The Proteas' chase did not get off to the greatest start as they lost Hendricks (4) lbw to the impressive Taskin Ahmed (2-18) on the sixth delivery, though they soon found something of a groove with four boundaries before losing their next wicket, Quinton de Kock (16), in the fifth over.

Aiden Markram's day then ended before it had barely started, the right-hander caught by Naim at wide slip for a duck, but Temba Bavuma (31 not out) stepped up and hit three fours and a single six as he top-scored.

Rassie van der Dussen's dismissal after 22 off 27 deliveries meant little in the grand scheme, as South Africa comfortably crossed the line with 39 balls remaining.

Victory keeps them in second place in Group 1 behind England with one match left, and with a superior run rate to Australia.

Rabada cadabra!

The wicket in Abu Dhabi always looked promising for seamers and Rabada was in fine form. Nortje got even better figures with the ball, but Rabada's work was decisive in truly dismantling Bangladesh nice and early.

He said: "That wicket favoured the seamers and I'm just glad that today was my day. Every time we have the opportunity to practice, we try and implement what could possibly work for us. We always train hard, and today it paid off. It's nice to see the ball swing, especially in T20 cricket, but it wasn't a surprise, having seen that happen in the IPL games here."

Ahmed a bright spark

Ahmed was one of few reasons for optimism for Bangladesh here. Overall, he has enjoyed a decent tournament and he kept South Africa's batsmen on their toes, impressing his captain.

Mahmudullah said: "That was a poor batting display but having said that there was enough assistance in the pitch. Taskin has been bowling well in this tournament. We had the choice between Taskin and Fizzy [Mustafizur Rahman], but we went with Taskin because he has been bowling well."

Jos Buttler took his magnificent T20 World Cup campaign to new heights with his first international century in the shortest format as England made it four wins from four by defeating Sri Lanka.

Buttler's stunning 32-ball 71 lifted England to a dominant victory against Australia on Saturday and he reached another level in Sharjah two days later as one of the tournament favourites further cemented their position at the top of Group 1 to stand on the brink of the semi-finals.

They ultimately prevailed by 26 runs as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 137, a margin of victory that appeared unlikely as England laboured to 36-3 during the powerplay and were 47-3 after 10 overs.

But the ability of Buttler and previously out-of-form captain Eoin Morgan (40) to manage the situation on a tricky pitch turned the game in England's favour, the wicketkeeper-batsman hitting the gas with a devastating display of hitting for a 67-ball 101 that ensured their 163-4 was beyond Sri Lanka despite the best efforts of the excellent Wanindu Hasaranga (34) - who also took 3-21.

Jason Roy (9), Dawid Malan (6) and Jonny Bairstow (0) all failed to get going for England but, having withstood pressure from the Sri Lanka attack, Morgan and Buttler turned the tide emphatically.

Lahiru Kumara (0-44) was Sri Lanka's most expensive bowler and was brutally bludgeoned in a 15th over that went for 22 -  including three sixes - and Sri Lanka never looked like wresting control back thereafter.

Morgan was eventually dismissed as he became Hasaranga's 50th T20I victim, but Buttler could not be denied his hundred, which came off the last ball of the innings with his sixth maximum as a full toss on leg stump was dispatched in style.

Hasaranga's stand of 53 with captain Dasun Shanaka (26) kept Sri Lanka in the hunt but their chances essentially evaporated with some stunning fielding from Roy. 

Roy performed heroics at the long-off boundary to flick the ball to Sam Billings before falling over the rope to dismiss Hasaranga. In fourth place with two points, Sri Lanka's hopes of progress are hanging by a thread, but England can begin to start thinking about the semi-finals.

Buttler's historic innings

Buttler became the fourth English men's batter to score a T20I hundred and, in doing so, joined Heather Knight as only the second England cricketer to record a century in all three international formats.

Morgan leads the way

This was Morgan's 43rd win as captain, the most by a skipper in T20I cricket, taking him past MS Dhoni and Ashgar Afghan. The only blemish for Morgan was a quad injury for fast bowler Tymal Mills.

Virat Kohli accused his India team-mates of a lack of courage after defeat to New Zealand left them on the brink of elimination from the T20 World Cup.

India went down by eight wickets against the Black Caps on Sunday as they produced another meek display following the 10-wicket thrashing by Pakistan in their opening game.

The pre-tournament favourites posted a modest 110-7 from their 20 overs and the Kiwis knocked it off with 33 balls to spare at the Dubai International Stadium.

Kohli's side now need to beat Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia, and hope results elsewhere go their way to become one of the two teams in their group to progress to the semi-finals.

"I don't think we were brave enough with bat or ball," India captain Kohli said in the post-match presentation.

"With the ball, I mean, obviously we didn't have much to play with, but we were just not brave enough with our body language when we entered the field. 

"New Zealand had better intensity, better body language, and they created pressure on us from the first over onwards, really, and continued that through the innings.

"Every time we felt like we wanted to take a chance [while batting], we lost a wicket. That happens in T20 cricket, but that's most probably or most often the result of that little bit of hesitation with the bat, when you feel like should you go for the shot or not."

New Zealand recorded a third straight victory over India at T20 World Cups, having previously prevailed when they met in 2007 and 2016, as the Men in Blue lost successive T20Is outside India for the first time.

Kohli claimed India's players have been affected by the burden of expectation on them from millions of fans back home and failed to cope with the pressure that brings.

"When you play for the Indian cricket team, you obviously have a lot of expectations, everyone knows that – not only from the fans but from the players themselves," he explained.

"Wherever we play, we are watched, people come to the stadiums to support us, so there's always going to be more with our games, that's always been the case. 

"We've embraced it over the years, and everyone who plays for the Indian team obviously has to embrace that as well, and learn how to cope with it.

"And when you cope with that as a team, you tend to overcome that pressure and those tough situations. And we haven't, in these two games, and that's why we haven't won.

"There's only one way to play T20 cricket – you have to be optimistic, you have to be positive, take calculated risks, and that's what this format is all about.

"Just because you're the Indian cricket team and there's expectations, doesn't mean that you start playing the format differently."

India bowler Jasprit Bumrah has suggested that an aggressive batting approach was the cause of their eight-wicket defeat to New Zealand in the T20 World Cup.

After the pre-tournament favourites only posted 110-7 from their 20 overs, Bumrah and his fellow bowlers could not stop their opponents from easing to their target for the cost of just two wickets and with five and a half overs to spare.

Sunday's result is India's second loss in as many games and leaves their hopes of qualifying hanging by a thread.

It follows the 10-wicket hammering at the hands of rivals Pakistan in their opening game, and means that India will need to win well against Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia, while hoping for favourable results from elsewhere.

Virat Kholi's team had no answer to the power of the Black Caps, and instead of the Indian captain, it was Bumrah who faced the post-match press conference.

When asked about the first innings, Bumrah said: "We wanted to get extra runs that could give us an advantage in the second innings. I think in that process we played a lot of attacking shots. That didn't come off today.

"I think that was the approach as a batting unit because in the second innings, batting does get easier. So we wanted to give that cushion to the bowlers. I think that was the thought process. I think in that thought process, there were a lot of attack issues."


Bumrah - who took the only two wickets in the New Zealand innings - was also asked about the scheduling of the tournament, with India's opener against Pakistan coming just nine days after the final of the Indian Premier League, and the requirement for players to be on the road for such long periods in bubbles.

"Absolutely. Sometimes you need a break. You miss your family sometimes," he added. "You've been on the road for six months. So all of that sometimes plays on the back of your mind.

"But when you're on the field, you don't think of all those things. You don't control a lot of things, how the scheduling goes on or what tournament is played when.

"So obviously staying in a bubble and staying away from your family for such a long period of time does play a role on the player's mind as well. But they also tried their best to make us feel comfortable.

"But this is the time which we're living in right now. It's a difficult time. There's a pandemic going on. So we try to adapt. But sometimes bubble fatigue, mental fatigue also creeps in, that you're doing the same thing again and again and again.

"So it is the way it is, and you can't control a lot of it here."

The 27-year-old made clear that he and his team-mates should not focus on the negatives, and urged calmness. 

"As a sportsman, you face a lot of days in cricket. Some days will be good and some days would be bad. What I try to do is not get very high when good days happen and not get very low when low days happen," Bumrah said.

"All of these things are always part and parcel of a cricketer's life. Try to stay in the moment, analyse what went wrong, what went well and try to move forward. That's the only way that you can move forward in this game."

New Zealand landed their first win at this year's T20 World Cup after defeating India by eight wickets in the Group 2 clash at the Dubai International Stadium.

Trent Boult took three wickets – taking his T20I career tally to 50 – as the Black Caps recorded a third straight victory over India at the tournament, having previously prevailed when they met in 2007 and 2016.

After Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to field, Boult dismissed Ishan Kishan (4), Hardik Pandya (23) and Shardul Thakur (0).

He also caught Virat Kohli for nine from Ish Sodhi’s delivery, as India posted a total of 110-7, which proved much too low.

Daryl Mitchell led New Zealand's charge with 49 from 35 balls, while Martin Guptill had a knock of 20 in his 100th T20I innings.

Captain Williamson coasted to 33 not out as the Black Caps secured a commanding victory with 5.3 overs to spare, condemning their opponents to a fourth successive T20I defeat outside India for the first time. India could still reach the semi-finals, but it will take a huge turnaround in fortunes after losing their opening two games.


Brilliant Boult reaches the half-century

The 32-year-old left-arm quick captured 3-20 during another impressive performance for the Black Caps.

Reaching 50 T20I wickets, Boult became the fifth New Zealand bowler to achieve the feat after Tim Southee, Sodhi, Mitchell Santner and Nathan McCullum.

Ton up for Guptill

The batsman chalked up his 100th innings in the short format for the Black Caps, but it was his exploits in the field that were more important here.

The 35-year-old took catches to remove Pandya, Thakur and Rohit Sharma.

Bangladesh have lost all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan for the rest of the T20 World Cup due to a hamstring injury.

The 34-year-old pulled up while fielding in the Tigers' defeat to West Indies at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday.

Shakib was able to bowl four overs and open the batting, but will play no further part in the tournament.

"Shakib sustained a left lower hamstring strain while fielding during the match against the West Indies. In clinical examination, it was diagnosed as an injury of Grade 1 intensity,'' said Debashish Chowdhury, the chief physician of the Bangladesh Cricket Board.

"He is ruled out from participation in the last two matches of the tournament and until further review."

Bangladesh will not replace Shakib, as they do not have any reverse players in the squad to step up.

The Tigers are bottom of Group 1 after losing all three matches, with games against South Africa and Australia to come.

Liam Livingstone hailed Jos Buttler as "the best hitter of a white ball in the world" after he blasted England to an eight-wicket T20 World Cup thrashing of Australia.

England moved to the brink of the semi-finals with a third crushing victory in three games, demolishing their great rivals at Dubai International Stadium on Saturday.

The bowlers once again set up a statement win, Chris Woakes (2-23) outstanding with the new ball as Australia could only post 125 all out.

It might have been much worse for Australia, as they slumped to 21-4 in the seventh over, but captain Aaron Finch hung in there with 44 before Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc provided the sort of lusty blows the top order failed to come up with.

Chris Jordan (3-17), Adil Rashid (1-19) and Livingstone (1-15) were also outstanding in another near flawless performance from Eoin Morgan's side in the field, with the in-form Moeen Ali not called upon to bowl.

Buttler then took centre stage with an explosive 71 not out from 32 deliveries as England reached their target with 50 balls to spare, going two points clear at the top of Group 1 with a far superior net run-rate to their rivals.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler struck five huge sixes as he took the Australia attack apart and Livingstone lapped up a masterclass from his team-mate.

He told Sky Sports: "It was a pleasure watching that Jos innings, the bowlers have been phenomenal, and Mo's been our best bowler and hasn't even bowled today.

"We have great depth in our line-up, then a pleasure to watch genius at work [Buttler]. He's the best hitter of a white ball in the world. A clinic of white-ball hitting."

Finch also doffed his cap to Buttler and vowed that wounded Australia will regroup after dropping below South Africa into third place.

"When we lost a few wickets in the powerplay, we had to hang in there, get to a total we thought would be defendable if we got it right with the ball," Finch said.

"Woakes is a brilliant exponent when there's seam early. We had to bowl them out, no issues there, but Buttler played a hell of an innings.

"We got off to a poor start, but a couple of days off to recharge, we'll dust ourselves off and come back for Bangladesh."

Jos Buttler blasted a brutal unbeaten half-century as England thrashed fierce rivals Australia by eight wickets to stand on the brink of the T20 World Cup semi-finals.

Both sides came into the showdown at Dubai International Stadium on Saturday with two wins from two, but it was England who made a huge statement to go two points clear at the top of Group 1.

Australia were all out for 125 off their 20 overs after being reduced to 21-4 in the seventh over, Chris Woakes (2-23) setting the tone for another brilliant performance in the field from Eoin Morgan's side.

Chris Jordan (3-17), Adil Rashid (1-19) and Liam Livingstone (1-15) also bowled superbly as only Aaron Finch (44 from 49 balls) made a notable contribution after Morgan put Australia in.

Tymal Mills was expensive with 2-45 from his four overs as only a late flurry of runs got Australia from deep in the mire to three figures, with the in-form Moeen Ali not called upon to bowl by Morgan.

England made light work of chasing down their target as Buttler produced a masterclass, smashing 71 not out off only 32 deliveries.

Buttler and Jason Roy (22) put on 66 for the first wicket from 6.2 overs as the Australia bowlers came in for some painful treatment, with England's wicketkeeper-batsman and Jonny Bairstow finishing off the job with 50 balls to spare.

A third resounding win leaves England in command of Group 1 with a huge net run-rate, while Australia drop below South Africa into third place.

 

Australia rocked by Woakes wizardry

Woakes got England off to a dream start, getting David Warner caught behind with his second delivery and trapping Glenn Maxwell in front after leaping to take a fine one-handed catch to send Steve Smith on his way.

Australia were in deep trouble at 21-4 in the seventh over when Rashid snared Marcus Stoinis lbw without scoring and Livingstone was also outstanding, sending Matthew Wade on his way.

Ashton Agar chipped in with 20 off as many balls and Pat Cummins struck his first two balls from Mills for six, but he was bowled by Jordan, who had Finch well caught in the deep by Bairstow off the previous delivery in the penultimate over.

 

Brilliant Buttler makes Australia suffer 

Buttler and Roy got England's run chase off to a flyer, racking up the most runs in the powerplay in the tournament with 66.

Adam Zampa came on to get Roy lbw before Buttler raised his bat after scoring the joint-fastest half-century in the tournament from 25 balls with a six off Australia's premier spinner.

The Australia bowlers had no answer to the class of Buttler, who produced an exhibition of clean striking, hitting five sixes and as many fours.

David Miller and Kagiso Rabada blasted South Africa to a dramatic four-wicket T20 World Cup win over Sri Lanka after Wanindu Hasaranga took a hat-trick at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

The Proteas welcomed Quinton de Kock back into the side after he missed the win over West Indies on Tuesday following Cricket South Africa's decision that all Proteas players must take a knee prior to the remainder of their games in the tournament.

De Kock took the knee on Saturday in a united stance against racism before Sri Lanka were bowled out for 142 from their 20 overs in a Group 1 contest neither side could really afford to lose.

Pathum Nissanka made 72 off 58 balls, with the brilliant Tabraiz Shamsi and Dwaine Pretorius taking 3-17, while Anrich Nortje also impressed with figures of 2-27.

A fourth-wicket stand of 47 between captain Temba Bavuma (46) and Aiden Markram made it advantage South Africa, but Hasaranga (3-20) gave Sri Lanka the upper hand.

The spinner bowled Markram with the final ball of the 15th over and returned to dismiss Bavuma and Dwaine Pretorius at the start of the 18th – reducing the Proteas to 112-6 and completing his hat-trick.

South Africa needed 15 to win off the final over from Lahiru Kumara after Rabada had dispatched Dushmantha Chameera for a huge six and they got home with a ball to spare after Miller launched two maximums into the leg side.

The Proteas are on four points with two wins from three matches, while Sri Lanka are unlikely to qualify following their second loss.

 

Shamsi shows why he's number one

Shamsi showed how he has become the top-ranked T20 bowler in the world, dismissing Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Avishka Fernando caught and bowled as Sri Lanka lost wickets far too frequently.

The spinner, who has the most T20I wickets this year with 32 at an average of 13.62, bowled 13 dot balls and only conceded one boundary, also getting Hasaranga caught in the deep.

Pretorius and Nortje bowled superbly at the death, with only Nissanka ensuring Sri Lanka were able to make a significant total after clearing the rope three times and hitting six fours.

Miller time after Hasaranga heroics

The Proteas were in trouble on 26-2 after Chameera trapped Reeza Hendricks lbw before taking a catch off his own bowling to remove De Kock (12)

Bavuma led the recovery with a composed knock, but the craft of Hasaranga swung the game in Sri Lanka's favour.

Rabada flexed his muscles with a huge six off the penultimate over and struck a four to win over the powerful Miller middled two full deliveries from Kumara out of the ground.

Quinton de Kock took the knee before making his South Africa return in the T20 World Cup match against Sri Lanka on Saturday.

De Kock issued an apology after deciding against playing in the win over West Indies at Dubai International Stadium.

The wicketkeeper-batsman ruled himself out of that match following Cricket South Africa's decision that all Proteas must take a knee prior to the remainder of their games in the tournament.

De Kock has previously declined to make the gesture, but stated on Thursday he would take the knee and was "deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger" he had caused.

The 28-year-old said he was deeply hurt by being called a racist because of a misunderstanding.

De Kock was back in the team for the Group 1 showdown with Sri Lanka at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, replacing Heinrich Klaasen.

The former Proteas captain joined his team-mates by making the anti-racism gesture of taking the knee after Temba Bavuma won the toss and chose to field.

West Indies great Michael Holding is hoping Quinton de Kock recognises he made a "silly, dumb mistake" after refusing to take the knee at the T20 World Cup.

South Africa were without talismanic wicketkeeper De Kock for Tuesday's clash with West Indies after he refused to play for "personal reasons".

Cricket South Africa (CSA) later confirmed De Kock was absent for the Group 1 Super 12 match in Dubai due to his refusal of a board directive to take the knee, which has become a gesture of support and unity in the fight against racism.

De Kock issued an emotional statement on Thursday after productive talks with CSA as he promised to take the knee from now on, saying he was "deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger that I have caused".

Holding, who has regularly spoken about the need to combat racism, expressed his hope that De Kock will learn from the episode and deliver on his promise going forward.

 

"I don't know him well enough to say that what he did he meant," Holding told Stats Perform, when asked about De Kock's initial decision.

"What I am hoping is that he recognises he made a silly, dumb mistake by sticking to his principle of not taking the knee.

"If you believe in a cause, you do what everyone else is doing to support that cause. You don't automatically find your own way to support that cause because then no one will know you support it."

In the wake of George Floyd's death last year, Holding spoke powerfully about combatting racism, and his book Why We Kneel, How We Rise has been nominated for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2021 award.

"The worldwide accepted gesture for supporting Black Lives Matter and believing everyone's life is equal is to take the knee," Holding said.

"You don't say, I'm not going to do what everybody else in the world recognises as the way forward, that's not the way it works.

"You do what is accepted as the norm, the way that everyone has seen as the gesture to support the movement and that's all I'll say on the matter.

"If he can't understand that then I can't help him understand but one would hope, as I say, he just made a silly mistake and he now understands the reason behind it – if not, then I'll send him a copy of my book!"

It remains unclear whether De Kock will return to the Proteas side, who face Sri Lanka in their next group game on Saturday.

Jason Holder is hopeful West Indies can reproduce the jubilation he felt during the winning moment against Bangladesh in their final two T20 World Cup Super 12 games.

The Windies prevailed to keep their hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive as they successfully defended 142-7, a total they reached in an innings that saw captain Kieron Pollard retire in the 13th over only to return for the final five balls.

Holder, drafted into the squad as a replacement for the injured Obed McCoy, came straight into the side and the former captain delivered critical runs at the death, hitting two sixes in an unbeaten 15, and claiming (1-22) with the ball.

It was Andre Russell who delivered the winning moment, however, his superb yorker ensuring Mahmudullah could not get the four runs needed off the final ball to lead Bangladesh to victory.

"The last ball that Russell bowled. Obviously, four runs, one ball to bowl the perfect yorker, which was a dot ball, was phenomenal," Holder said afterwards. 

"A lot of jubilation went through my veins especially, and then all the guys obviously played really well.

"So, yeah, that moment was the best moment for me. Let's hope the next two games we can feel similarly."

Having suffered defeats to England and South Africa, West Indies will need to win each of their last two matches to stand a chance of progressing to the last four. With three defeats from three, Bangladesh's hopes are essentially over.

Pollard delivers... eventually 

The 13th over appeared to be one that could potentially end West Indies' prospects of progression as Pollard retired and Russell was run out from the next delivery, leaving the Windies 62-4.

Nicholas Pooran (40) and Roston Chase (39) recovered the situation but, after they each fell in the 19th over and Dwayne Bravo was dismissed to start the last, Pollard returned to partner Holder and followed successive maximums from the ex-skipper with one of his own off the final ball to push the Windies to what proved a match-winning score.

Bangladesh's still waiting for semi-final berth

Mahmudullah (31 not out) did his best to get Bangladesh over the line, but his side are left with only pride to play for in the final two games. Bangladesh have still yet to reach the last four of this tournament.

"Definitely we'll play for our pride," Mahmudullah said. 

"We've been trying hard and hard to get a win. Two more games to go. We'll put our everything definitely to win these last two games."

David Warner returned to form with a blistering half-century after Adam Zampa put Sri Lanka in a spin as Australia cruised to a seven-wicket T20 World Cup win.

Warner's place in the side had been called into question due to a lack of runs, but the opener silenced his critics a day after his 35th birthday as Australia made it two wins out two in the Super 12 stage.

Sri Lanka posted 154-6 after Aaron Finch won the toss and opted to field at Dubai International Stadium on Thursday, Kusal Perera and Charith Asalanka making 35 apiece before Bhanuka Rajapaksa added an unbeaten 33.

Spinner Zampa flummoxed the Sri Lanka batters, taking 2-12 from his four overs, while Mitchell Starc (2-27) and Pat Cummins (2-34) also did damage.

Josh Hazlewood played a big part with the ball once again without reward and Australia made light work of chasing down their target.

Warner was dropped on 18 but made 65 from 42 balls, and he and captain Finch (37 from 23) laid the platform with an explosive opening stand of 70 from only 6.5 overs.

Wanindu Hasaranga took 2-22, but Australia eased to their target with three overs to spare to join leaders England on four points in Group 1, Steve Smith making 28 not out and Marcus Stoinis unbeaten on 16.

 Zampa bamboozles Sri Lanka after promising start

Sri Lanka were going along nicely at 53-1 at the end of the powerplay, but they lost their way after the excellent Zampa had Asalanka caught on the sweep by Smith.

The guile of Zampa also saw the back of Avishka Fernando after Starc cleaned up Kusal with a searing yorker, as Sri Lanka lost four wickets for 16 runs.

Rajapaksa added some much-needed late runs, with Stoinis expensive, but Australia were left with a smaller chase than they might have been expecting.

 

Warner grateful for late Kusal gift

Warner had been dropped by Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League and came into this game having scored only 17 runs in his previous five innings.

His frustrating spell would have continued if Kusal had not put down a simple catch behind the stumps and the powerful left-hander made him pay, hitting 10 fours to set his side well on their way to victory.

Finch was also due some runs and looked in ominous touch – bad news for Australia's rivals – as he cleared the rope twice before playing on to Hasaranga.

Quinton De Kock has apologised to his South Africa team-mates for refusing to take the knee and says he will now make the anti-racism gesture ahead of future matches.

South Africa were without their talismanic wicketkeeper-batsman for Tuesday's T20 World Cup opener with West Indies after he pulled out for "personal reasons".

That came after Cricket South Africa (CSA) agreed all Proteas should take the knee before their remaining World Cup games, as a consistent and united stance against racism.

CSA later confirmed De Kock was absent for the Group 1 match at Dubai International Stadium because of his refusal to follow the directive.

South Africa captain Bavuma said he was "taken aback" by De Kock's stance.

But De Kock has now attempted to resolve the row by releasing a wide-ranging statement following "emotional" talks with the CSA board on Wednesday.

"I would like to start by saying sorry to my team-mates, and the fans back home," the statement, released via CSA on Thursday, read.

"I never ever wanted to make this a Quinton issue. I understand the importance of standing against racism and the responsibility of us as players to set an example. 

"If me taking a knee helps to educate others, and makes the lives of others better, I am more than happy to do so. I did not, in any way, mean to disrespect anyone by not playing against West Indies, especially the West Indian team themselves. 

"Maybe some people don't understand that we were just hit with this on Tuesday morning, on the way to a game. I am deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger that I have caused."

De Kock has previously been quiet on his decision to not show support for the anti-racism gesture, but he has now explained his reasons why.
 
"For those who don't know, I come from a mixed race family. My half-sisters are coloured and my step mom is black," he said.

"For me, Black lives have mattered since I was born. Not just because there was an international movement. 

"The rights and equality of all people is more important than any individual. I was raised to understand that we all have rights, and they are important. 

"I felt like my rights were taken away when I was told what we had to do in the way that we were told. 

"Since our chat with the board last night, which was very emotional, I think we all have a better understanding of their intentions as well."

He added: "I wish this had happened sooner, because what happened on match day could have been avoided. I know I have an example to set. We were previously told we had the choice to do what we felt we wanted to do.

"I chose to keep my thoughts to myself, and thought of the pride of playing for my family and my country. I didn't understand why I had to prove it with a gesture, when I live and learn and love people from all walks of life every day. 

"When you are told what to do, with no discussion, I felt like it takes away the meaning. If I was racist, I could easily have taken the knee and lied, which is wrong and doesn’t build a better society.  

"Those who have grown up with me and played with me, know what type of person I am. I've been called a lot of things as a cricketer. Doff. Stupid. Selfish. Immature. But those didn't hurt.

"Being called a racist because of a misunderstanding hurts me deeply. It hurts my family. It hurts my pregnant wife. I am not a racist. In my heart of hearts, I know that. And I think those who know me know that. 

"I know I'm not great with words, but I've tried my best to explain how truly sorry I am for making like this is about me. It is not.

"I won't lie, I was shocked that we were told on the way to an important match that there was an instruction that we had to follow, with a perceived 'or else'. 

"I don't think I was the only one. We had camps. We had sessions. We had Zoom meetings. We know where we all stand. And that is together. 

"I love every one of my team-mates, and I love nothing more than playing cricket for South Africa. I think it would have been better for everyone concerned if we had sorted this out before the tournament started.

"Then we could have focused on our job, to win cricket matches for our country. There always seems to be a drama when we go to World Cups. That isn't fair."

De Kock concluded his statement by praising the leadership of Bavuma, who is South Africa's first permanent black captain.

"I just want to thank my team-mates for their support, especially my captain, Temba," he said. "People might not recognise, but he is a flipping amazing leader. 

"If he and the team, and South Africa, will have me, I would love nothing more than to play cricket for my country again."

Namibia made a winning start to their T20 World Cup Super 12 campaign with a four-wicket victory over Scotland at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Scotland were bowled out for just 60 in their heavy loss to Afghanistan in their first Group 2 match but they at least got over the 100 mark on this occasion as they set Namibia a target of 110.

After losing George Munsey to the very first ball, Calum MacLeod and Richie Berrington followed soon after to the bowling of Ruben Trumpelmann without adding any runs to Scotland's tally.

With wickets falling fast, Michael Leask at least gave Scotland something to bat for with 44 runs off 27 balls as they reached 109-8.

Michael van Lingen made a positive start to Namibia's innings with 18 runs before being bowled out by Safyaan Sharif – making his 50th T20I appearance for Scotland – and Zane Green (9) was not far behind.

Craig Williams (23) and David Wiese (16) piled on further scores and, while Scotland did manage to take the game to the final over, JJ Smit (32 not out) got Namibia over the line with five balls to spare.

Namibia play their trump card

The writing was on the wall for Scotland when they lost three wickets for two runs in the first over, with player of the match Trumpelmann responsible for each of those.

He finished with 3-17 and watched on as his team-mates batted to victory with four wickets left to play with.

A new Leask of life

Scotland had just a glimmer of hope as a couple of Namibia wickets fell towards the end, but even that glimpse of a win would never have been possible if not for the earlier batting of Leask.

His stint was ended by Smit, who perhaps appropriately went on to seal the victory for Namibia with a six over point as the African minnows reached 115-6.

Page 4 of 9
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.