T20 World Cup: South Africa pip England in final league tie but exit tourney | Cricket News
Asked to climb a mountain against England after the Aussies had hopped over them with a convincing win over West Indies earlier in the day, SA pipped England by 10 runs in an exciting night in Sharjah, with Kagiso Rabada taking a hat-trick in the final over.
South Africa, however, still couldn’t make it to the semis, with Australia nudging them out on the basis of a net run rate (1.216) which was slightly better than S. Africa’s 0.739.
In retrospect, SA did well to shoot out Bangladesh for 84, but it hurt that they took 13.3 overs to get to the low target. With the Aussies making short work of West Indies, SA had to win this game by around 61 runs.
Asked to bat first, the Proteas found someone who has shades of their retired superstar AB de Villiers. Producing a sensational knock which included six massive sixes and five sweetly-timed fours, Rassie van der Dussen smashed a career-best unbeaten 94 off just 60 balls. He added 103 runs for the third wicket in just 52 balls with the equally sensational Aiden Markram (52 not out, 25b, 4×6, 1×4) as South Africa put up a fighting 189 for two.
However, to complete the heist, the Proteas needed to restrict England to 131. They had a glimmer of hope when Jason Roy – in a massive concern for England – retired hurt due to a calf injury he suffered while running for a single. With tears running down his eyes, Roy, assisted by his colleagues, hobbled off in tears, clearly wrecked by the thought of his T20 World Cup being over from here on.
Jos Buttler (26; 15b, 1×6, 3×4) and Jonny Bairstow (1) were out quickly, but Moeen Ali (37; 27b, 2×6, 3×4) and Dawid Malan (33; 26b, 1×6, 3×4) then took charge. Later, Liam Livingstone (28; 17b, 3×6, 1×4) smashed Rabada for three consecutive sixes to take England past 131 in the 16th over. At 112m over the roof of the stadium, the first of those sixes was the biggest of the tournament.
Though he bounced back later, Rabada failed when it mattered the most, going for 45 runs in his first three overs without taking a wicket.
Earlier, van der Dussen and Markram’s inspiring onslaught helped South Africa notch up their highest score in this World Cup. When they were 73/the halfway stage, one thought that the Proteas weren’t doing enough to give their qualifying chances a decent shot, but what followed in the next 10 overs was mayhem.
SA smashed 119 runs, with both van der Dussen and Markram going berserk as they plundered 71 in the last five overs. Van der Dussen, in fact, could be the surprisingly expensive pick in the forthcoming IPL auction after this blazing innings.