South Africa narrowly averted embarrassment at the World Twenty20 as they edged past Netherlands by six runs in a dramatic finish at Chittagong.
The Dutch, routed for a record low 39 all out against Sri Lanka on Monday, came out with a point to prove and seamer Ahsan Malik took a Twenty20 international-best 5-19 to restrict the Proteas to a below-par 145 for nine.
And their batting initially fired too, a brutal half-century from Pretoria-born opening batsman Stephan Myburgh instrumental in taking Netherlands, who won the toss, to 114 for four in the 12th over.
That left them needing only 32 from 48 balls but Imran Tahir took two wickets in an over to shift the momentum, and Dale Steyn proved predictably hard to get away.
Netherlands, struck perhaps by an attack of nerves, kept giving away wickets to unnecessarily rash shots and lost their final scalp to Beuran Hendricks with just seven runs needed to win and eight balls remaining.
Hashim Amla led South Africa’s batting effort with 43 from the top of the order but, after he was the first of Ashan’s five victims, the Proteas slipped from 84 for two in the ninth over to their lacklustre score.
Although Myburgh’s 28-ball 51 looked like overhauling that, leg-spinner Tahir’s format-best 4-21 undermined the chase.