Nepal fell short of a historic win against the mighty South Africa as the latter managed to secure a thrilling one-run victory on the last ball of the 31st match of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2024.

Chasing South Africa’s 116-run target, Nepal were set to get over the line, however, the Proteas bagged back-to-back wickets towards the end of the game to triumph over the Asian side.

Nepal were 85-2 at one stage as Aasif Sheikh and AK Sah added 50 runs in 36 balls for the third wicket partnership.

Tabraiz Shamsi led the way for South Africa with figures of 4-19 in four overs.

Ottneil Baartman was tasked with bowling the last over with Nepal needing eight runs to win. Despite conceding a four on the third ball, Baartman held his nerves and finished the over with two dot balls.

Two runs were needed on the last delivery of the final over. Baartman banged in short as Gulsan Jha looked to run it past the keeper but he failed to connect bat with ball.

Wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock went for the bowler’s end as Sompal Kami ran across, but the ball hit Jha’s back and deflected towards cover. Klassen picked the ball and under-armed the flick onto the stumps at the bowler’s end with the batter caught short by a yard.

“Very grateful to have got the win, we were not near our best tonight. Reflecting back on the game over the next few days, there will be a lot of learning for us. We have a good pace attack and you want to back that. I thought if we got the ball in the right areas, it would be challenging for the batters,” said South Africa captain Markram after the match.

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“Moving forward some things may change. It’s one of the big challenges of cricket, being open minded and adapting,” he added.

Earlier, Nepal won the toss and decided to field first against South Africa.

Batting first, South Africa were restricted to 115-7 in 20 overs after a clinical bowling display by Nepal.

Opener Reeza Hendricks scored 43 runs in 49 balls and was South Africa’s highest run-scorer. Tristan Stubbs added unbeaten 27 runs in 18 balls.

Kushal Bhurtel was the pick of the bowlers for Nepal with figures of 4-19 in three overs. Meanwhile, Dipendra Singh Airee bagged 3-21 to keep South Africa in check.

The Proteas have already qualified for the Super 8 with four wins in as many matches. Meanwhile, Nepal are yet to register a win after three matches.