South Africa remained on course for the knockout stages of the World Twenty20 after edging out the Netherlands by six runs in a dramatic Group 1 match in Chittagong.
The Dutch made amends for their desperate effort on Monday, when they recorded the lowest-ever T20I total of 39 against Sri Lanka, by pushing the Proteas to their limits.
However, after looking likely to pull off a major upset they slumped from 116 for four to 139 all out in chase of a 146-run target.
Ahsan Malik had recorded the best figures by a Dutchman in a Twenty20 international with five for 19 to put the shackles on the hot favourites.
And when Stephan Myburgh struck a half-century in guiding his side to 80 for one in reply the Dutch were well on their way to recording a famous win.
But after he was bowled by JP Duminy the innings faltered, and despite having further opportunities to but the South Africans in their place in was Faf du Plessis’ side who took the points.
South Africa lost opener Quinton de Kock in the first over for zero and couldn’t get the kick start they needed at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium.
Hashim Amla, who hit seven boundaries and a six off 22 balls, top-scored with 43 and tried to lift the tempo but regular wickets kept the South Africans in check.
Amla hit four boundaries and a six off one Michael Swart over but Malik removed him in his first over and then took the dangerous Albie Morkel (five) in his second.
He also claimed the wickets of Dale Steyn (five), Beuran Hendricks (three) and David Miller (17) to improve on his previous best figures of three for 16 in the tournament.
Even AB de Villiers (21), skipper Faf du Plessis (24) and Duminy (12) failed to build on solid starts as they fell to miscued shots.
Myburgh gave the Dutch real hope by clattering eight boundaries and two sixes in his 28-ball innings of 51, dominating a 51-run opening stand with Michael Swart (eight).
Duminy bowled him in the eighth over but with time on their side even the loss of Wesley Borresi (14) and skipper Peter Borren (13) failed to halt the Dutch.
Brothers Tom and Ben Cooper took them up to 115 for four--just 31 shy of their target with 43 balls left--when the latter fell to Dale Steyn and the former became Imran Tahir’s third wicket when he missed a straight one two balls later.
It proved to be the turning point as the momentum swayed back to the Proteas, and although Mudassar Bukhari threatened late heroics the wickets continued to fall and Timm van der Gugton was last to go when he tickled Hendricks to gloveman de Kock in the penultimate over.
South Africa Inns
H Amla c wkp Barresi b Jamil 43
Q de Kock c Myburgh b Swart 0
F du Plessis c van Beek b TLW Cooper 24
AB de Villiers c B Cooper b van Beek 21
J Morkel c B Cooper b Jamil 5
JP Duminy c wkp Barresi b van der Gugten 12
D Miller b Jamil 17
D Steyn c wkp Barresi b Jamil 5 B Hendricks c Borren b Jamil 3 Imran Tahir not out 9 L Tsotsobe not out 1
Extras (b 1, w 4) 5 TOTAL (nine wickets; 20 overs) 145
Wickets at: 3 (de Kock), 45 (Amla), 84 (du Plessis), 92 (de Villiers), 102 (Morkel), 120 (Duminy), 127 (Steyn), 133 (Hendricks), 135 (Miller)
BOWLING: Swart 2-0-26-1 (1w); T van der Gugten 4-0-28-1 (1w); Jamil 4-0-19-5; van Beek 2-0-14-1 (2w); Mudassar Bukhari 4-0-26-0; Seelaar 1-0-9-0; Cooper 3-0-22-1
Netherlands Inns (Target: 146 runs)
S Myburgh b Duminy 51
M Swart c du Plessis b Steyn 8 W Barresi lbw Imran Tahir 14
P Borren lbw Imran Tahir 13
T Cooper b Imran Tahir 16
B Cooper c wkp de Kock b Steyn 5
Mudassar Bukhari c Miller b Tsotsobe 11
P Seelaar c Duminy b Imran Tahir 2
L van Beek run out (Miller/de Kock) 1
T van der Gugten c wkp de Kock b Hendricks 8
M Jamil not out 1
Extras (b 4, lb 2, w 3) 9
TOTAL (all out; 18.4 overs) 139
Wickets at: 58 (Swart), 80 (Myburgh), 82 (Barresi), 97 (Borren), 116 (B Cooper), 6-116 (T Cooper), 118 (Seelaar), 125 (van Beek), 134 (Mudassar Bukhari), 139 (van der Gugten)
BOWLING: A Morkel 2-0-19-0 (1w); Hendricks 3.4-0-16-1; Tsotsobe 4-0-46-1; Steyn 4-0-19-2 (1w); Tahir 4-0-21-4; Duminy 1-0-12-1 (1w)
Toss: Won Netherlands, who chose to field
Result: South Africa won by six runs
Points South Africa 2, Netherlands 0
Player of the match: Imran Tahir (South Africa)
Umpires: SJ Davis (Australia) and BNJ Oxenford (Australia)
TV umpire: RJ Tucker (Australia)