From being put on the backfoot by Nepal, they dragged themselves back courtesy Shamsi and Baartman

The Crucial Mini-Moments That Shaped Nepal’s Historic Chase Against South Africa

As Aasif Sheikh top-edged a ball off Kagiso Rabada, time seemed to freeze in Kingstown. The ball hung in the humid air, descending slowly as if in an old slow-motion sequence. Rabada moved to position himself under it, arms extended, only to see the ball slip through his hands and land on the ground. And then, time restarted.

With renewed confidence, Aasif smashed the next ball over cover for his first boundary, playing as if he had never been in danger of dismissal. Nepal, chasing a modest 116 for their first-ever win over a Full Member team, were off to a promising start.

That dropped catch was pivotal, not just because Rabada missed it—dropped catches are common—but because it underscored how small moments can alter the course of a match. Had Rabada held on, Nepal would have been 6 for 1 in the second over, losing one of their most experienced batters. The game could have looked very different.


  • Shamsi: ‘We’ve Been Put Under Pressure Every Game and Stood Up to It’

Instead, Aasif continued to build momentum, hitting two more boundaries during the powerplay. Nepal reached 34 for 0 after seven overs, setting a slow but steady pace.

Shamsi’s Return and Impact

For Tabraiz Shamsi, time might have felt like it stopped back in December, his last appearance for South Africa. Despite being South Africa’s leading wicket-taker in T20Is and once the top-ranked bowler in the format, Shamsi had been sidelined. The team had preferred their pace attack and the guile of Keshav Maharaj. But on the slow pitch in Saint Vincent, with South Africa already through to the Super Eight, they saw a chance for Shamsi to get some game time—a decision that proved to be a masterstroke.

Shamsi struck quickly. His second ball got South Africa’s first wicket, dismissing Kushal Bhurtel with a missed reverse sweep. His fourth delivery was a beauty, spinning back into Rohit Paudel’s off stump and removing the Nepal captain for a duck. South Africa seemed on top, but not for long.

Aasif shifted the momentum in the 13th over, taking 13 runs off Rabada’s second over. Markram rotated his seamers before bowling himself, conceding that they got their combination wrong and should have included both spinners.

Shamsi, however, did more than enough on his own. Returning in the 18th over with Nepal needing a run-a-ball, he dismissed Dipendra Singh Airee with a fired-in delivery and then bowled Aasif with a ball that spun between bat and pad. A second double-wicket over gave South Africa hope of a clean sweep in the group stage, but they still had work to do.

The Final Over Drama

Time seemed to stop again as Anrich Nortje, having bowled four deliveries in the upper 140s kph, opted for a slower ball at 114 kph. Sompal Kami had a split second to react and launched it over mid-wicket into the parking lot. Nepal needed 10 runs off the last seven balls and eight off the final six.

Ottneil Baartman, who had bowled a crucial penultimate over against Bangladesh earlier in the week, was called upon again. Two dot balls into the over, Baartman looked set for the job. But then, Gulshan Jha sent the next ball racing through point for four, leaving Nepal just four runs away from a historic victory.

In tense moments like these, experience often makes the difference. Baartman, with two seasons in the SA20 and a history of success, kept his composure. He bowled short, as per the plan, preventing Gulshan from making contact. On the final ball, in a chaotic sequence, Quinton de Kock’s throw deflected off Gulshan, allowing Heinrich Klaasen to run him out, securing a dramatic win for South Africa.

A Surreal Finish

Markram described the ending as “funny,” grateful for what seemed like a random victory. Gulshan’s inexplicable slowdown, instead of speeding up, highlighted how surreal sporting moments can be. Paudel, smiling despite the disappointment, reflected that it was not time but distance that separated Nepal from a historic win.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts