Ton-up Rilee roars as Proteas demolish Tigers at T20 World Cup

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South Africa's Rilee Rossouw celebrates scoring a century against Bangladesh at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 27 October 2022. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
South Africa's Rilee Rossouw celebrates scoring a century against Bangladesh at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 27 October 2022. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Rilee Rossouw provided the most compelling evidence to date of how wise the decision was to bring him back from the international wilderness.

AS IT HAPPENED | SA v Bangladesh

The dynamic left-hander became the first South African ever to score a century in the ICC T20 World Cup, in the process allowing the Proteas to romp to a massive 104-run victory over Bangladesh at the SCG in Sydney on Thursday.

More importantly, the winning margin will boost their net run-rate significantly following the washout against Zimbabwe.

Rossouw's 56-ball 109 was his second century in a row, following on from his maiden triple figure score against India a few weeks ago.

Given that the 33-year-old also made an unbeaten 96 earlier in the year against England, it becomes abundantly clear that he's elevated a burgeoning batting lineup to new heights.

Prospering along with Quinton de Kock, who was content to play a supporting if still dynamic role, he was the aggressor in a second-wicket partnership of 168.

It's a record for all wickets for South Africa in the format and also surpassed the T20 World Cup record of 166 that Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara made against the West Indies in 2010.

Rossouw was especially powerful on the on-side, hitting five of his seven sixes square, three of them serene sweeps off the spinners.

But he was also more than willing to explore the off and judged his intent to perfection.

De Kock, meanwhile, was nimbler and more innovative, indulging in flicks and deft cuts before holing out in the deep off a mistimed lofted drive.

His 63 off 38 was wonderful to watch though it did feel like a missed opportunity.

Nonetheless, it set up the platform for South Africa's charge to 205/5, which should've been more after a rather tame finish to the innings.

One concern is Temba Bavuma's torture with the bat continuing, a streaky six-ball stay at the crease ended by a poor shot to Taskin Ahmed, where he made a charge and then decided to check his shot, only managing a prod outside off.

There was hope for Bangladesh when Soumya Sarkar hit Kagiso Rabada for two sixes in an opening over that cost 17 runs, but their hopes were snuffled out quickly by the rapid Anrich Nortje.

Bowling fast and straight, the quick struck thrice in his opening two overs, allowing the spin twins Tabraiz Shamsi (3/20) and Keshav Maharaj (1/24) to serenely assert control as the Tigers’ passivity and desperate slogs invariably found fielders.

The Proteas' win now sets up Sunday’s meeting with India in Perth as a particularly tantalising affair.

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