Proteas book semifinal spot

2014-03-29 23:00

An inspired team finally found its batting groove in a thrilling game that ended in the elimination of England from the ICC World T20, writes Khanyiso Tshwaku.

After the Rocky Horror show that was the batting performance against the Netherlands, South Africa had a point to prove and so did stand-in captain AB de Villiers.

The bowlers battled adverse conditions to make the Proteas the first team in the Super 10 to defend a total in a night game.

England battled hard but their stars from their record chase against Sri Lanka on Thursday could not reprise the heroics.

They managed to keep in touch with the run rate for the better part of the game, but lost wickets at crucial intervals to stall any momentum.

England were going well in the early stages, scoring at more than nine runs an over and even had a slice of luck when Alex Hales was reprieved off an erroneous no-ball call from umpire Rod Tucker.

They could not make it count as Wayne Parnell ripped out the first three wickets, including two wickets in two ball.

Those crucial wickets were those of Hales and Moeen Ali.

Imran Tahir snared the crucial wicket of Eoin Morgan.

It was none other than De Villiers who capitalised on England’s generosity late in the innings, pumping a 23-ball 50, the fastest by a South African.

It was a welcome return to form for South Africa’s most explosive batsman, making his first T20 half-century in nearly four years.

Amla picked up from where he left off against the Netherlands, authoring a graceful 30-ball half-century – his first in the format.

Their 90-run opening partnership, which was disrupted by an iffy floodlight pylon that switched off again later in the innings, was the start the Proteas needed.

It made up for Quinton de Kock’s sluggishness. He could not quite adapt to the slowish Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium’s surface.

De Villiers came in at number three and oversaw a slight middle order stagnation where 36 runs were scored between the 10th and 15th overs.

He took a while in T20 terms to get going – his first 14 balls saw him accrue 21 runs.

The next 14 saw him explode, ransacking 48 runs, and the helpless Jade Dernbach was his main victim.

South Africa took 75 runs from the last five overs and South Africa’s batters finally came to the party.

Five key moments

1Jos Buttler fumbles a simple stumping, which reprieves Hashim Amla on 19

2AB de Villiers scores 26 runs in the 18th over, bowled by Jade Dernbach

3The ball was changed three times during the game at the time of printing

4Rod Tucker calls a no-ball off Albie Morkel, who had Alex Hales caught at cover

5Wayne Parnell dismisses Hales and Moeen Ali in successive balls

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