Sorting by


The one positive England can take from T20 World Cup defeat to South Africa

South Africa 163-6 (De Kock 65, Miller 43 | Archer 3-40) beat England 156-6 (Brook 53 | Maharaj 2-25) by seven runs

DAREN SAMMY CRICKET GROUND — England can still make the semi-finals of this T20 World Cup. But they have made life much harder for themselves after falling to defeat in their second Super Eights match against South Africa.

A win would have all but guaranteed the defending champions’ passage into the last four and for much of this see-saw contest that appeared likely.

Yet England lost out in a final-over thriller, falling eight runs short of their target of 164, having only needed 25 from the final three overs. Powered by a fifth-wicket partnership of 78 in 42 balls between Harry Brook and Liam Livingstone, Jos Buttler’s men had recovered from 61 for four in the 11th over.

However, fine death bowling by Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje took South Africa to their sixth successive win in this tournament and saw them book their place in the semi-finals.

England can still join them having won their opening Super Eight match against the West Indies here on Wednesday. Victory against the unfancied USA in their final match in Barbados on Sunday should be enough, especially as the close nature of this defeat has not done too much damage to their net run rate.

But with rain forecast for Sunday, there is the danger a washout might end England’s tournament.

This match was played on a different pitch to the one against the West Indies on Wednesday night. But it still looked a true surface.

Quinton de Kock showed that early on, reaching fifty from just 22 balls, after Buttler won the toss and decided to field first again, just as he did earlier in the week.

South Africa were 86 without loss in the 10th over. But England’s efforts in the field, where they eventually dragged things back, were fired by two pieces of brilliance from Buttler.

Firstly, in the 12th over he took a flying one-handed catch to dismiss De Kock on 65 following a mistimed a cut to a Jofra Archer slower ball. Mark Wood, who had grassed a catch to get rid of De Kock on 58 in the ninth over, was a relieved man.

Buttler followed up in the 14th with a remarkable direct-hit run out that saw the back of Heinrich Klaasen, the man who had tormented England with 109 off 67 balls during their Mumbai meltdown at last year’s 50-over World Cup.

That result, by a walloping 229 runs, had shattered the team’s self-belief. There was no shortage of that here as the bowlers closed out the innings superbly, conceding 34 from the last four overs.

As usual, Adil Rashid was superb, the leg-spinner picking up the wicket of South Africa captain Aidan Markram in his final over to finish with figures of one for 20. Reece Topley, Archer and Sam Curran also did well at the death.

It left what appeared an eminently chaseable target. Yet the chase entered choppy waters when England were reduced to 54 for three in the ninth over. Phil Salt, caught at cover off Kagiso Rabada, and Jonny Bairstow, clubbing Keshav Maharaj straight to backward point, were the first to go. They were followed by Buttler, caught after failing to get hold of a slog sweep against Maharaj.

The situation got even uglier for England two balls into the 11th over when Moeen Ali pulled Ottneil Baartman to deep midwicket.

Four down and needing an unlikely 103 from 58 balls, England’s fate rested on the fifth-wicket pair of Brook and Liam Livingstone.

They took the total past 100 in a 15th over bowled by Rabada that went for 18 and left England needing 59 from the final 30 balls. And when Livingstone feasted on five full tosses from Baartman to take 21 off the 17th over, England needed 25 from the final 18 balls.

Having clubbed 52 from the previous 18, England were massive favourites. But another full toss, this time from Rabada in the 18th, did for Livingstone, who was caught in the deep.

Rabada’s over went for just four and England needed Brook, who had reached his fifty in 34 balls, to get the 21 required from 12 deliveries. It didn’t happen, Marco Jansen conceding seven from the penultimate over and Brook perishing to the first ball of the 20th as the Proteas wrapped the game up.

Player of the day: Keshav Maharaj

Keshav Maharaj took the attack to England’s batsmen (Photo: Getty)

The left-arm spinner piled the pressure on England in the middle overs, taking two for 25 from his four and dismissing key men in Buttler and Bairstow.

Quote of the day

“We know we’re still in it. We played well today, we just didn’t quite get over the line.”

England captain Jos Buttler

Stat of the day

England have now conceded 390 runs in opening stands in six games this tournament – the second-highest total in a men’s T20 World Cup behind the 400 Namibia conceded in eight games in 2021.

Mott-o-meter: 3/10

England’s World Cup have taken a hit. A win against the USA on Sunday should still see them through to the semi-finals. But forecast rain in Barbados this weekend is a threat to their hopes – as well as the US, obviously. 

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button