South Africa register bittersweet win as Australia and England progress to semis

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06 Nov 2021 | 06:01 PM
authorcricket.com staff

South Africa register bittersweet win as Australia and England progress to semis

The Proteas, despite winning 4 games, crashed out thanks to Australia boasting a superior Net Run Rate

It was a bittersweet night in Sharjah for South Africa as while they became the first team in this World Cup to stop England, the Proteas crashed out of the T20 World Cup by the virtue of Net Run Rate. Having put up 189 batting first, South Africa needed to restrict England to 131 in order to surpass Australia’s NRR and progress to the semis, but it wasn’t to be as the Three Lions managed to score 179. But for what it was worth, South Africa, nevertheless, got a consolation win that was architected by Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Tabraiz Shamsi and Dwaine Pretorius.

South Africa get off to brisk start on surprisingly good Sharjah wicket

The thumping Australian win in Abu Dhabi meant that the equation for South Africa, who won the toss and batted first, was simple: they needed to win by 60 runs to progress. They did not get off to the greatest of starts, losing Reeza Hendricks in just the third over, but the duo of Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen remained positive throughout the course of the first ten overs. South Africa were just 26/1 after 5 overs, but a 14-run sixth over, bowled by Chris Woakes, got them going. 

Both de Kock and van der Dussen collected boundaries regularly, and finished the 10-over mark at 73/1. For England, Moeen - 1/27 off 4 overs - once again did well, but today, for the first time in this World Cup, there was no threatening spell up-front from Woakes, who was the most ineffective of bowlers. 

Van der Dussen, Markram help South Africa post mammoth total

At 73/1, South Africa were in a decent position, but they needed an insane final 10 overs to stand a chance of qualifying. And remarkably, that is exactly what they got. The Proteas added an astonishing 116 runs in the final 10 overs, and it was all down to the brilliance of two men: Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram.

The duo put together an unbeaten 103-run stand, and it came off just 58 balls. The entire partnership was nine-and-a-half overs of pure genius.

Van der Dussen had played a bit of an anchor role in the first part of the innings, but cut loose completely come the final phase. He hit six sixes all by himself, and finished on 94*.  We have seen RVD smack humongous sixes via his stable base, but today he unleashed the fancy side of his batting, downing England with some delicate scoops and reverse-scoops. 

Markram, meanwhile, has been a revelation in T20Is in 2021, and he also played a knock that was mighty-impressive. Unlike van der Dussen, Markram did not take time to play himself. The right-hander started in fifth gear and batted in overdrive mode for 25 balls. Markram got off to an ultra-quick start, racing to 21 off his first 12 balls, and kept finding the fence frequently to finish on 52* off just 25 balls. His innings was no less impressive than that of van der Dussen.

For England, the disappointment was the performance of Woakes, who was taken apart for 43 runs off his 4 overs. The 16th over he bowled cost 21 runs, and pretty much turned out to be the catalyst for South Africa posting a mammoth score. 

Also a concern was the showing of Mark Wood, who, in his first game of the World Cup, went at nearly 12 runs an over. 

Jason Roy injury stalls England’s chase

Chasing 190 in Sharjah is no mean feat, but England started off like the champion side they are. Both Buttler and Roy were off the blocks quickly, and the team brought up its 50 in just the fifth over. The 132 South Africa needed to restrict England to, looked like it was going to be knocked down in 13 overs.

However, there was a major development in the fifth over that rocked England - Jason Roy left the field and retired hurt due to an injury. The opener, who has a history of muscle injuries, did not even try and attempt to bat on, and immediately retired hurt. His expression in the dressing room, later, suggested that he thought his tournament could very well be over.

The injury stalled England’s chase. Buttler perished soon after, for 26, and Bairstow lasted just three balls. Out of nowhere, South Africa started to believe. 

It was Moeen and Malan who were handed the responsibility of tidying things up, and while they fared alright, the scoring rate dropped. England, after adding 50 off the first 5, could only score 31 more off the next 30 balls. 

South Africa hold nerve to get consolation win

Moeen and Malan did the consolation part well, but once Moeen departed, England needed 73 off the final six, something which looked a pretty tough ask. Malan was still there well set, but he simply did not get into any six-hitting rhythm.

However, out of nowhere, Liam Livingstone injected life into the chase by smashing Rabada for a hat-trick of sixes. England needed 65 off the final 5, and Livingstone began the 16th over by smashing three sixes in a row, the first of which turned out to be the biggest six in the competition, at 112 meters. Suddenly, England were into the game out of nowhere.

But in what was an anti-climactic end to the contest, England ended up hitting just one more six in the rest of the game as they fell short of the target by 10 runs. 

Malan departed in the 17th over to the impressive Dwaine Pretorius, but needing 25 off the final 2 overs, the Three Lions lost a cluster of wickets that ultimately proved costly. 

Livingstone perished on the first ball of the 19th over, but while England got through the rest of that over unscathed, they lost the plot in the final over.

Needing 14 to win, the Three Lions conceded a hat-trick to KG Rabada, who almost picked all three wickets in identical fashion - caught on the edge of the boundary.  The finish line was in sight for England when the final over began, but some gutsy bowling from Rabada meant that it was the Proteas who got over the line.

South Africa failed to qualify, but got the consolation win they deserved.

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England vs South AfricaICC World Twenty20, 2021South AfricaEnglandKagiso RabadaRassie van der DussenAiden MarkramLiam LivingstoneJason RoyTemba Bavuma

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