Originally Posted by Cricket South Africa
Major blow to SA's semifinal hopes
South Africa's road to the World Cup semi-finals has suddenly developed a major obstruction after they succumbed by 67 runs to Bangladesh in their Super Eight match in Guyana on Saturday.
Having posted 251 for eight, Bangladesh's left-handers then breezed through the South African batting order to bowl them out for 184.
After seamer Syed Rasel had removed kingpins Graeme Smith, bowled for 12, and Jacques Kallis, who holed out for 32, the South African middle-order were unable to deal with Bangladesh's trio of left-arm spinners, Abdur Razzak, Mohammad Rafique and Sakib al-Hasan.
The only batsman to prosper was Herschelle Gibbs, who came in at number seven after a calf strain kept him off the field for most of the Bangladesh innings, and he scored an unbeaten 56, although he boycotted any ideas of hitting out at the death as the required run-rate soared.
Smith was bowled when he backed away to cut through the off side, but misjudged the length, while Kallis, whose scoring rate has been the subject of much conjecture, had cruised to 32 off 36 balls when he miscued a slower ball from Rasel to mid-on.
De Villiers managed to get off the mark this time, but never looked settled against the spinners as he struggled to 15 off 39 balls before being comprehensively beaten and bowled by a Razzak arm ball.
That exposed South Africa's fragile middle-order, who tended to give their wickets away cheaply.
Ashwell Prince's mind was clearly elsewhere as he tried to scamper a crazy single and was run out for a single by slick work by Aftab Ahmed.
Mark Boucher (12) struck a handsome six before coming down the pitch to Sakib's next ball and chipping a catch to long-off and Bangladesh then cantered to victory as Sakib caught-and-bowled Justin Kemp (7) with his next delivery to put South Africa inexorably on the path to defeat.
Gibbs and Shaun Pollock (17) provided some entertainment with their stand of 45 in nine overs, before an ambling Pollock was unforgivably run out by Tamim Iqbal's flat, fast throw as he failed to stretch out his bat to its full extent.
Veteran Rafique caught-and-bowled Nel for a single and Razzak completed a thorough butt-kicking by removing Charl Langeveldt (9) and Makhaya Ntini (8).
There was nothing fortuitous about Bangladesh's victory. Their planning was exemplary, capitalising on South Africa's well-known woes when it comes to spin, on a Providence Stadium pitch that played lower and slower in the second innings.
Neutrals will no doubt be chuckling over the comedy of errors the side that was ranked number one in the world suffered on Saturday. Having played like palookas for most of the game, they then surrendered with barely a whimper.
But their performance is likely to raise much stronger objections at home and embarrassed faces in the West Indies.
Mohammad Ashraful's 87 led Bangladesh to a solid 251 for eight in their World Cup Super Eight match against South Africa at the Providence Stadium in Guyana on Saturday.
Andre Nel rescued an uninspiring bowling performance by South Africa as he took a career-best five for 45, taking wickets at regular intervals to ensure Bangladesh didn't entirely run away with matters.
But Ashraful was the bane of the South Africans' lives, feasting on all the bowlers (save for Shaun Pollock) as he collected 12 fours in scoring his 87 off just 83 balls. Tamim Iqbal (38), Aftab Ahmed (35) and Mashrafe Mortaza (25) also joined in the party as Bangladesh gathered their highest ever score against South Africa.
Pollock was tight and Makhaya Ntini could have had more luck, but South Africa's new-ball bowlers lacked penetration as openers Iqbal and Javed Omar put on 42 in 13 overs, before Nel scythed through the top order.
Omar struggled to 17 off 41 balls when he cut Nel to a cleverly placed deep square-gully, while Tamim collected six fours and was not afraid to advance down the pitch and hit the ball high and handsome over the infield.
But Nel unsettled him and, after top-edging a hook just over wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, he swung wildly at the next delivery and was caught behind.
Nel intercepted a straight drive from Habibul Bashar (5) to pull off a splendid one-handed reflex caught-and-bowled and Jacques Kallis had Sakib al-Hasan (9) also caught on the cut.
But Ashraful and Aftab Ahmed cultivated a steadying fifth-wicket stand that allowed Bangladesh to really launch in the last 15 overs.
Aftab struck Kallis for two sweet sixes over long-on in an over, before the inspired Nel took a good catch off Makhaya Ntini running around the cover boundary. Aftab's 35 came off 43 balls.
By then, Ashraful was really cooking and with Mortaza weighing in with some bazooka hitting of his own, South Africa had to hold tight at the end of the innings.
Ntini and Charl Langeveldt were embarrassed as 70 runs came off the last seven overs, but Nel kept his cool in his own fiery way, bowling Mortaza for 25 off 16 balls with a superb yorker and having Ashraful caught at fine leg in the last over.
But on a good pitch, a quick outfield and one close boundary, South Africa know that a solid batting performance should keep their World Cup campaign on track.
Ashraful showed what is possible after a measured start by Bangladesh, showing the skill of a surgeon more than the brute force of a blacksmith.