Chittagong: South Africa survived a mighty scare before their bowlers brought the turnaround to pull off a narrow six-run victory over the Netherlands in their World Twenty20 match on Thursday.
Put in to bat, South Africa suffered a batting collapse after a strong start to post a modest 145 for 9 as paceman Ahsan Malik recorded career-best figures of 5 for 19.
The Proteas were on course for an embarrassing defeat before the inexperienced Dutchmen left them off the hook in the Super 10 Group 1 match at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
The Netherlands were seemed cruising at 116 for four in the 13th over, thanks to a brilliant innings of 28-ball 51 from opener Stephan Myburgh, needing just 40 runs from more than seven overs with six wickets in hand. But, they lost the way after that and their six batsmen fell for just 20 runs to be all out for 139 in 18.4 overs.
Ben Copper (5), Tom Copper (16), Pieter Seelaar (2), Logan van Beek (1), Timm van der Gugten (8) and Mudassar Bukhari (11) could not apply themselves and take their side to what could have been the biggest upset of the tournament so far.
Leg-spinner Imran Tahir was the pick of the South African bowlers with four wickets for 21 runs while fast bowler Dale Steyn chipped in with two wickets. Beuran Hendricks, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and JP Duminy took a wicket apiece.
With Thursday's result, South Africa are on four points from two wins and a loss and remain in the race for a place in the semifinals. They had lost to Sri Lanka in their campaign opener but bounced back with a win over New Zealand.
The Netherlands, on the other hand, are yet to open their account. They had lost to Sri Lanka in their opening match, in which they could score just 39, the lowest ever Twenty20 International innings total.