Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj held his nerve to guide the South Africa cricket team to a four-run win against Bangladesh in a thrilling Group D match of the T20 World Cup 2024 in New York on Monday.

Maharaj bowled an excellent final over at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, conceding just six runs and picking up two wickets, as Bangladesh halted at 109/7 in response to South Africa’s 113/6. 

Maharaj, who plays for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League, recorded his career-best figures in T20Is finishing with 3/27 in his four overs.

Opting to bat first, the Proteas started on the wrong foot as they were four down in the fifth over with the score reading just 23. But Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller joined hands to add 79 runs, the highest partnership for any wicket at this venue, as South Africa recovered from their initial slump.

Klaasen top-scored in the game with 46 off 44 balls, hitting three sixes and a four. David Miller also chipped in with 29. For Bangladesh, Tanzim Hasan Sakib was the pick among bowlers with 3/18 in four overs.

In reply, Bangladesh kept losing regular wickets in pursuit of a modest total. Maharaj picked up a wicket off his first ball in the match – in the seventh over – sending Litton Das back. By the 10th over, the Bangladesh cricket team looked in dire straits at 50/4.

Though Towhid Hridoy and Mahmudullah put together 44 for the fifth wicket, it was Maharaj and South Africa who had the last laugh. Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada supported Maharaj with impressive spells of 2/17 and 2/19, respectively.

Bangladesh were 103/5 with 11 needed to win off the last over. The well-set Mohammad Mahmudullah was at the crease with Jaker Ali at the other end. After a wide off the first ball, Maharaj conceded three of the next two. 

Maharaj then struck as Jaker Ali holed out to long on to Aiden Markram and swung the momentum away from Bangladesh. The next delivery to Rishad Hossain struck the pads, which gave away a leg bye and the fifth ball got rid of Mahmudullah, who also found Markram at the long on boundary. Taskin Ahmed could only score a single off the final ball as South Africa won the match by four runs.

South Africa, thus, remained unbeaten in the T20 World Cup 2024 and on top of Group D with six points from three matches. The Proteas are up against Nepal in their final group encounter at Kingstown on June 15.