England Stops South Africa

Engalnd beat South Africa by two wickets with two balls left in a crazy batting shoot-out in their Pool 1 match at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Friday evening to get their ICC World Twenty20 campaign back on track.  Having lost their first game to the West Indies, England found themselves in an all or nothing situation when they went out to bat in pursuit of South Africa’s total of 229/4 which was at that stage the sixth highest T20 International total ever.  England’s reply of 230/5 meant that they had made their highest ever T20 score as well as the second highest chase in the history of this format.

It was an evening on which the bowlers on both sides faced an unenviable task and they were not helped by the chances that went astray in the field.  There wouldn’t have been many volunteers to bowl if the game had gone to a super over.  Nevertheless there was some superb batting on both sides with Quinton De Kock and Hashim Amla setting the Proteas up with a total of 83 in the six power play overs. 

However, England were more than equal to the task with their total of 89.  De Kock matched AB de Villiers performance at the Wanderers against England in reaching his 50 off 21 balls while Amla needed only an extra four deliveries for his half-century.  Both players hit three sixes and seven fours.

But England did even better with Jason Roy and Alex Hales doing most of the work in taking England to 50 in less than three overs.  England lost wickets at a faster rate than South Africa but they also scored quicker and they went into the last five overs needing to score only 47 runs.  In contrast the Proteas had scored 63 in their last five overs.

They lost Jos Buttler during this period after a partnership of 75 in only six overs.  Joe Root almost completed the job for England in partnership with Moeen Ali with England needing less than a run a ball in their last two overs.  However, Kagiso Rabada got rid of Root in the 19th over (83 off 44 balls, six fours and four sixes) to give the Proteas a last chance.  

England then lost Chris Jordan with the scores tied in the last over and in a chaotic finish David Willey was run out next ball before Ali got England over the line with two balls and two wickets in hand.  In defeat the Proteas will rue the 20 runs they conceded in wides although they do have the positive of getting JP Duminy somewhere near his best with his innings of 54 not out off 28 balls (three fours and 3 sixes) as well as some tidy bowling that brought him a wicket.

They also showed tremendous spirit in almost forcing the super over when the game was England’s for the taking.  The Proteas play their second match against Afghanistan at the same venue on Sunday.