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NEWS: ‘It’s been a while since I’ve had those figures’- Anrich Nortje breaks record at T20 World Cup

Anrich Nortje was happy to contribute to the team after the Proteas opened their T20 World Cup campaign with six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in New York.

Anrich Nortje of South Africa during the 2023 KFC T20 International Series match between South Africa and West Indies at DP World Wanderers Stadium in Centurion on 28 March 2023
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Anrich Nortje was happy to contribute to the team after the Proteas opened their T20 World Cup campaign with six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in New York.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Nortje made a welcome return to form as he recorded remarkable figures of 4-7 in four overs – the best by a Proteas bowler at a T20 World Cup – as Sri Lanka could only muster a total of 77 all out, their lowest in T20 internationals.

The Proteas then had a few shaky moments in the run-chase, losing four wickets on what was a tough pitch in the first-ever T20 international played at the venue.

Nortje was out of the game for six months due to a stress fracture and had initially struggled for form in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the build-up to the global tournament.

The paceman said at the post-match presentation: “It’s been a while since I’ve had those figures. Just happy to have pulled it off for the team.

“We didn’t know what to expect from the pitch, we’d heard one or two rumours about being up and down.

“There were probably a few balls that I wanted a little bit differently, they weren’t 100% executed, but yeah, very happy to get the results.

“I think the biggest thing is just to get the results for the team, it’s not about personal performances. To get a career-best is nice, but it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day unless the team is winning. So, I’m very happy for the team as well. I think every bowler bowled really well.”

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The fast bowler also defended the surface at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium after it was suggested that the low-scoring match was not a fair contest between bat and ball.

The Proteas still have two matches in New York, against Netherlands and Bangladesh, before moving to the West Indies for the remainder of the competition.

“It doesn’t always mean, correct me if I’m wrong, there needs to be 20 sixes in a game to make it entertaining,” Nortje said at the post-match press conference.

“There’s still a lot of strategy that goes into the game. There’s a lot of skill that goes into the game, whether it’s sixes or fast bowlers or spinners, however it might be.

“So, I thought the game was brilliant. It was still a close game at the end of the day, another wicket or two, and things might have been different. We might have been in a little bit more trouble.”

He added: “It is great to be in New York. It’s great to be playing cricket in the US and…we’re excited for what’s to come. We’ve enjoyed the facilities; we’ve enjoyed the sort of getting around and exploring as well. So, yeah, it’s brilliant and we are enjoying it.”

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