CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh - Leg-spinner Imran Tahir came to South Africa's rescue as they survived a scare from the Netherlands with a hard-fought six-run win in their group one match in Chittagong yesterday.
Tahir took 4-21 in his four beguiling overs to keep the Netherlands to 139 in 18.4 overs in a chase for 146 in the super-10 stage match at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium.
Tahir's effort overshadowed paceman Ahsan Malik's best bowling figures of 5-19 by a Dutchman in all T20 internationals which restricted South Africa to 9-145 in their 20 overs.
The Netherlands, who were shot out for 39 — the lowest-ever Twenty20 score — against Sri Lanka in their previous match, had themselves to blame for not able to chase the modest target despite a fiery start of 58 in 5.5 overs given by Stephan Myburgh's 28-ball 51.
Myburgh, born in South Africa, was particularly severe on paceman Lonwabo Tsotsobe who he smashed for four boundaries and two sixes in the third and fifth overs.
Myburgh, who hit a match-winning 63 in a remarkable win over Ireland which helped his team to qualify from the first round, reached his half-century off just 25 balls with eight boundaries and two sixes but a run later was bowled by spinner Jean-Paul Duminy.
But none of the other batsmen could cope with Tahir as the Netherlands lost their last seven wickets for a mere 42 runs.
South Africa's skipper wasn't happy with their performance despite the win.
"I think we are making it hard for ourselves," said Du Plessis. "It's a great sign when your side is not playing 100 per cent and still gets over the line."
Dutch skipper Peter Borren was left disappointed.
"We obviously let this one go. We played across the line to Tahir," said Borren of the man-of-the-match leg-spinner.