England vs South Africa: T20 World Cup review

South Africa handed England their first loss of the World Cup in a thriller in Sharjah. This victory by 10 runs was not enough for them to qualify as England and Australia progressed from Group One.

The permutations surrounding the net run rate meant that after South Africa scored 189 off their allotted overs they knew they had to restrict England to 131, a task that was always going to be difficult against the form side of the tournament

South Africa began their innings in a controlled manner, opting to keep wickets in hand. With the need to win by a significant margin, there was always an expectation of an acceleration. This came through Rassie van der Dussen, who finished on a career-best 94* from 60 balls but especially Aiden Markram, 52* off 25. The two batsmen who have been arguably the most impressive for South Africa throughout the lead up to the tournament put England to the sword on the small boundaries of Sharjah.

They were particularly destructive against Chris Woakes and Mark Wood who both went at an economy rate of over 10.75 an over. Mark Wood was returning to the team for the first time in the tournament as a replacement for the injured Tymal Mills. 

The catalyst for the South African total was the 16th over, in which Woakes was hit for three sixes in an over that was hit for 21. All ten sixes in the innings came off the bats of Markram and van der Dussen. 

Once the target had been set, the new targets of 131 and 87 emerged. South Africa had to restrict England to 131 in order to jump above Australia, who had breezed past West Indies earlier in the day, 87 was the score England needed to get to ensure they finished top of their group. 

The England innings was halted early on as Jason Roy pulled up in agony over what is now revealed to be a calf injury. The emotion of the injury as well as the possibility of his World Cup being over caused him to breakdown on the pitch, it was a horrible injury to witness and hope that it is not as bad as feared. 

Moeen Ali was brought in to replace him and with his skill in hitting spin, he enjoyed a good innings of 37 before falling to Tabraiz Shamsi, who was incredible in his four over spell. Anrich Nortje was equally as impressive, taking the huge wicket of Jos Buttler and bowling with immense pace and skill. 

After a small cluster of wickets, Liam Livingstone joined South African-born Dawid Malan at the crease. Livingstone has a reputation for six hitting and he proved that by hitting Kagiso Rabada for three sixes in a row at the start of the 16th over. During which England had made it over the 131 mark and essentially knocked South Africa out. There was still a game to be played though and this destruction put England right back into the contest. 

Dwaine Pretorius took two wickets in his next two overs to halt the momentum somewhat and importantly got rid of the set batters Livingstone and Malan. The penultimate over that he bowled went for just 11, leaving Rabada a margin of 14 to defend. He had gone for 45 off his first three overs in what was a disappointing night for one of the best bowlers in the world. He proved his star quality, however, taking a hatrick in the first three balls of the over. He took the wickets of Chris Woakes, Eoin Morgan and Chris Jordan. Woakes and Jordan hadn’t faced a ball before the innings in the tournament, testament to how impressive England have been. 

This was essentially the end of the game. Rabada finished with just three singles and sealed a bittersweet victory for the South Africans. They can feel hard done by in this tournament. Not many people gave them a chance and with four wins out of five games, the same as the other teams that did qualify from their group, they were unlucky. Also they probably played better cricket than all but one team in the other group, however, it was not to be for them. 

England progressed but don’t yet know who they’ll play as Group Two hasn’t been finalised yet. It could be India if Afghanistan are able to beat New Zealand and they beat Namibia. More likely, New Zealand will simply qualify with a win against Afghanistan.

South Africa: 189-2 20 overs (van der Dussen 94*, Markram 52* (25))

England: 179-8 20 overs (Ali 37, Rabada 3-48)

Concrete’s bowler of the match: Tabraiz Shamsi

Concrete’s batter of the match: Rassie van der Dussen

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Oscar Ress

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August 2022
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