Imran Tahir was South Africa's saviour as he produced a match-winning performance with the ball to hold off a spirited Netherlands by six runs in their group one, T20 World Cup clash in Chittagong.
Tahir saved the Proteas blushes with a superb 4-21 to halt the Dutch charge that, at one stage, looked ominous for South Africa and reminiscent of the Netherlands' stunning win over England in the opening T20 World Cup match five years ago.
South Africa's formidable batting unit were reduced to a modest 145/9 off their allotted 20 overs, thanks to the medium pace of Ahsan Malik, who registered the best bowling figures in T20 World Cup history with 5/19.
The Proteas simply couldn't get going with only Amla, 43, De Villiers, 21 and Du Plessis, 24 providing contributions of any note. The fact that none of the big names have found any real form will be a concern to the management, although Amla did show signs at the top of the order that a big score is just around the corner.
The Dutch batting lineup were looking to put their capitulation against Sri Lanka behind them when they collapsed for just 39 and from the very first ball their intentions were clear as South African born Stephan Myburgh smashed the attack to all parts of the ground on his way to 51 off just 34 deliveries.
Myburgh fell with the score on 80/2 off just 7.5 overs. The opposition's body language suggested an upset was on the cards, however Tahir had other ideas, perplexing the rest of the batsmen with his variety of tricks, ensuring that wickets fell at regular intervals and keeping his team in the game.
Spearhead Dale Steyn - with 2/19 - provided the perfect foil for Tahir as the Netherlands simply ran out of boundary hitters, eventually falling an agonising six runs shy of the victory target.
The win elevated South Africa into second place in group one, however they will need to up their performance and net run-rate against England on Saturday if they want to ensure qualification for the semi-finals.
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