Cricket fans were left scratching their heads on Saturday night when South Africa made the worst-possible start against Australia at the T20 World Cup.
Marcus Stoinis delivered Australia a tense final-over win over the Proteas in their opening match that threatened to end in record-breaking calamity.
Josh Hazlewood extended his superb form from the Indian Premier League, snagging two wickets and setting the tone to restrict the Proteas to 9-118 in Abu Dhabi.
One of those wickets was Quinton de Kock, who was dismissed in extraordinary fashion in the fifth over.
The South African wicketkeeper attempted an audacious ramp shot off Hazlewood, only to miss the ball and see it balloon into the air off his pads.
De Kock then watched on helplessly as the ball came back down and bounced onto his stumps, leaving commentators stunned.
“What a horrible fate for Quinton de Kock,” one said.
“What an extraordinary dismissal this is. He literally stood there outside his ground watching it with no means of stopping it.
“He watched it in slow motion. It was a slow death but he’s on the way back.
"A calamitous dismissal for South Africa.”
South African great Dale Steyn was also gobsmacked.
“A disaster for South Africa,” he said.
“This is not the way one would imagine getting out. Just coming off the thigh pad, popping up in the air.
“No one saw it happening, then softly and gently falling back on to the stumps.”
— Bernie Coen (@berniecoen) October 23, 2021
What a disastrous start for South Africa! Have to be so unlucky to get out in that way! Quinton de Kock is such an impact maker and he is out so early. But this is a good opportunity for Klaasen and Markram.#T20WorldCup #AUSvSA
— Prasenjit Dey (@CricPrasen) October 23, 2021
Marcus Stoinis gets Aussies home in tense finish
What should have been a straightforward chase looked decidedly challenging when the victory equation was 36 runs from four overs, with set batsmen Steve Smith (35) and Glenn Maxwell (18) both departing in quick succession.
It would have been a new low for Australia to fall short of victory; New Zealand's inability to haul in a target of 120 against Sri Lanka in 2014 remains the lowest failed chase in this tournament's short history.
But Matthew Wade (15 not out) and Stoinis (24no) stood up in an unbeaten 40-run stand.
The power-hitting pair didn't panic, taking few risks before Stoinis got Australia home with two balls to spare by slapping two boundaries in the final over.
"The main thing for me there was actually trying to stay as calm as I can," Stoinis said.
"For a Greek Australian, it's pretty hard.
"You saw a bit of emotion come out towards the end. There was a bit of a feeling of 'here we go again, there's a run chase on'.
"It was good to get that one over the line."
Aaron Finch, David Warner and Mitch Marsh departed as Australia crawled to 3-39 after eight overs.
Finch, who fell for a fifth-ball duck when he delivered catching practice for Kagiso Rabada at third man, admitted the chase was "quite stressful" viewing.
"Coming down to the wire, you're always going to be nervous," Finch said.
"Marcus Stoinis showed a really cool head, Matty Wade as well."
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