T20 World Cup result: England reach semis despite loss to South Africa
On the eve of the Super 12s, at the Tolerance Oval, in front of a handful of fans on the grass banks, Rassie van der Dussen played an astonishing knock, reaching his century off the final ball as South Africa beat Pakistan. That night he showed exactly what he could do, regardless of the opposition.
This time it was the turn of van Der Dussen (94 off 60), in front of thousands in Sharjah, to show off his ability with the bat yet again with an innings of the highest class as South Africa became the first side to defeat England at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, with a 10 run victory.
Unfortunately for the Proteas, their success came in vain as they were eliminated, despite four wins and just one defeat, due to having the lowest net-run-rate between them, England and Australia – all four teams ended the Super 12s with four wins and one defeat.
Surely, they will ponder at what could have been, after that chase against Bangladesh in Abu Dhabi, where it took them 81 balls to reach a target of 85. In contrast, Australia chased down 74 against Bangladesh with 82 balls remaining.
After the manner in which Australia cruised past the West Indies in Abu Dhabi, 90 miles up the Sheikh Zayed road, South Africa knew that they didn’t just have to win; They had to win big if they wanted to extend their stay in the UAE.
Put into bat by Eoin Morgan, they got off to a subdued start with just 26 runs off their first five. Yet again, Moeen Ali opening and striking in the powerplay. Reeza Hendricks (2 off 8) was bogged down by some dot balls before the pressure told. He was bowled, going for the slog sweep.
England would have been delighted to have finished Moeen’s four overs by the end of the seventh over for just 27 runs. His record in the powerplay in the tournament thus far a remarkable 11-0-63-5, going at less than a run a ball.
That dismissal however signalled the arrival of van der Dussen who wasted no time in getting going, with a delightful ramp shot over fine leg. He and Quinton de Kock (34 off 27) combined to put on 71 runs in 52 balls to help South Africa set up a platform to attack.
Van der Dussen impresses
116 came off the last 10 overs as the Proteas set England a target of 190. Led by van der Dussen, the chief architect, as he swept, scooped and slogged his way around Sharjah, accompanied by a brilliant half century from Aiden Markram (52 off 25), the pair ensured that the bowlers had something to play with with a magnificent and unbeaten partnership of 103.
At the interval, we had a couple of games within a game: England knowing that 87 would seal qualification for them, whilst 107 would mean topping the group. For Australia, the magic number was 131. Providing that England reached that, it would be Australia and not South Africa who would join England in the semi-finals.
Them nerves didn’t last long. This is an England side that was always going to attack and go for the win and with Jos Buttler (26 off 15) in sensational touch, he and Jason Roy (20 off 15) raced to 37 without loss after four, welcoming Kagiso Rabada by taking him for 15 in his first over. Sadly, Roy’s night and in all likelihood, his World Cup came to an end as he pulled up agonisingly whilst running for a single and had to be carried off. It was a devastating moment for a man so integral to England’s white-ball setup.
With Roy retired hurt and Buttler out early – a surprise given his recent form – it was left to the rest to chip in and show the depth that this England side possesses.
Bairstow (1 off 3) was trapped in front by Tabraiz Shamsi but England fought on with valuable contributions, first with Moeen (37 off 27) and Dawid Malan (33 off 26). The equation was 65 off 30 when Temba Bavuma introduced Rabada back into the attack.
Rabada rattles England
His first ball was smashed out of the park by Liam Livingstone (28 off 17), with a six that could have cleared the ground twice over, measured at 112m (the largest of the tournament yet). Unsurprisingly, there were shouts of “12” around the ground. As if that wasn’t enough, Livingstone threw the kitchen sink at the next one which mathematically eliminated the Proteas in the most brutal manner, before sending the next ball straight back over Rabada’s head.
Nevertheless, despite going for 45 off his first three overs, it would be Rabada who would have the last say. England needed 14 off the final over and Rabada sealed victory for South Africa with a hat-trick – the third of the tournament – getting Chris Woakes (7 off 3), Eoin Morgan (17 off 12) and Chris Jordan (0 off 1) all caught in the deep.
Rabada was left grinning but it was England who would have the last laugh. For them, a semi-final awaits against one of India, New Zealand or Afghanistan. Their white-ball revolution goes on with a fourth consecutive limited overs semi-final since the 2015 World Cup.
However, it will be a semi-final where they will likely be without one of their key players in Jason Roy. Morgan said post-match that the dressing room was “gutted for Jase [Roy]” before adding that, “He is an unbelievably important player for us. He’s a guy who epitomises everything that we are about in the changing room and in the way that we play. You see how commanding he is at the top of the order not only in T20 cricket but in 50-over cricket as well. Two different partners in two different formats but he is as close as we get to someone summarising how the changing room should play.”
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