ICC World T20 Results: South Africa Join India in the Semifinals and Knock Unlucky England Out
By Deepak Vikraman | March 30, 2014 4:36 AM EST
South Africa have flirted with disaster once or thrice in this edition of the ICC World T20 in Bangladesh. But the so-called "chokers" have found a way to pick up a win time and again.
Knowing a victory over England will take them to the semifinals, the Proteas brought out the big guns (read AB De Villiers and Hashim Amla) with the bat, with the bowlers then just about doing their job, without the theatrical final over thrillers, to take their side through to the last four.
Losing a crucial toss, South Africa knew they needed a big score to stop England from getting over the line for a second straight time, and courtesy special knocks from Amla (56) and De Villiers (69) they did just that making 196 for five from 20 overs.
In reply, England gave it a right-old go, with Alex Hales (38), Jos Buttler (34) and Ravi Bopara (31) all doing their best, but a second straight 190 and over chase proved to be just a little beyond them, as they finished on 193 for seven in their 20 overs, falling a mere three runs short.
The victory takes South Africa to the semifinals from Group 1 and the winner between Sri Lanka and New Zealand will join them, with England's chances vanishing with the agonising loss on Saturday night.
England started their chase like a house on fire, with Alex Hales picking up from where he had left off against Sri Lanka, and Michael Lumb also joining in, playing a few delightful strokes.
The Three Lions stormed to 40 in the first four overs, even if England were lucky not to have Hales back in the pavilion, with the right-hander caught at point off Albie Morkel, only for it to be called a no-ball, with replays suggesting the fast bowler had a shade of his foot behind the line.
South Africa needed a wicket to prevent England continuing the assault, and Wayne Parnell provided it in the fifth over, with Lumb (18, 14b, 1x4, 2x6), looking in terrific form, even smashing the unhittable Dale Steyn for a six, hitting a low full toss straight to David Miller in the covers.
Hales continued his merry way, though, hitting Beuran Hendricks for two boundaries and a six off the next over to take England to 62 for one after the six Powerplay overs.
Imran Tahir came in with the fielding restrictions lifted, but could not get a wicket, with Parnell, yet again, coming to the party for his captain De Villiers.
The left-arm pacer first picked up the priceless wicket of Hales (38, 22b, 6x4, 1x6), with the opener playing a lofted shot through the offside straight to Miller in the deep. It was two wickets in two balls for Parnell, with Moeen Ali toe-ending one through to wicketkeeper Quinton De Kock, as SA tasted their semifinal place.
Jos Buttler, though, refused to throw the towel in, knowing full well it was curtains for England in the World T20 if they lost this game, with the right-hander taking the match to the death, despite losing Eoin Morgan (14 in 14) early, caught behind off Imran Tahir.
The target was brought down from 122 in 12 overs down to 86 in 42 balls, with Buttler and Bopara taking Hendricks for 17 runs in the 14th over to make it 69 from 36 balls.
But, time and again, Tahir (4-0-27-2) or Steyn has come up trumps for South Africa with the ball in this World T20, and it was the former who picked up the crucial wicket of Buttler (34, 24b, 2x4, 1x6), with the right-hander reverse-sweeping one straight to Morkel at backward point.
With only Bopara (31, 18b, 3x4, 1x6) and the bowling all-rounders left, it was always going to be too steep a task, and so it proved to be as England fell a little short.
It was the swashbuckling Hashim Amla who took charge for South Africa at the top of their innings, with the right-hander making merry, despite a couple of rather irritating interruptions as one light tower, probably because it was not fed in the morning, deciding to switch off twice.
Amla though lit up from the off and it was lights out for England once that flowing blade made contact with the white cherry.
South Africa raced to 52 in six overs, with Amla scoring 38 of those as Quinton De Kock was more than happy to give the strike to his partner, with the left-hander, after three failures, desperate to spend some quality time in the middle, even if it is from the non-striker's end, watching Amla tonking the ball for fun.
The run rate did not come down post the Powerplay overs, as Amla kept the pedal on the metal, with South Africa reaching 85 at the halfway stage of the first innings. However, the elegant right-hander's explosive innings came to an end in the 11th over, holing out to Hales at deep midwicket with England skipper Stuart Broad making the breakthrough.
De Kock (29, 33b, 2x4) would have wanted to take over from his opening partner, but the left-hander just could not get going, and was out stumped by Buttler, who would have been glad to get one after missing an easy chance to dismiss Amla early in the innings, off James Tredwell.
AB De Villiers (69, 28b, 9x4, 3x6) and JP Duminy would have been South Africa's two preferred batsmen to take court in the death, but the latter was run out after facing just five deliveries, unable to complete a double after losing his bat while turning for the second.
With South Africa on 120 for three from 14.3 overs at that moment, England sensed a way back into the game and restricting the Proteas to a score below 170. But, after a couple of decent overs, it was lift-off for De Villiers, who thumped Jade Dernbach for 26 runs in the 18th over, before carrying on the big hitting to take his side to a no-way-you're-getting-there 196 for five.
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