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Crunch tie for England & SA

Calcutta/Chittagong: With back-to-back victories, South Africa have put themselves in contention for a semi-final spot and they will look to seal the berth when they clash against England in their last Group 1 match, here, on Saturday.

South Africa had started their campaign on a sour note, losing to Sri Lanka by five runs. But the Proteas men notched up successive wins against New Zealand and the Netherlands in the next two games to stay in the hunt.

However, things will not be easy for them. South Africa’s opponents are on a high after a six-wicket victory over group-toppers Sri Lanka.

They achieved the victory courtesy Alex Hales’ blistering century, the first by an England player in T20 Internationals. The knock not only boosted the confidence of the Stuart Broad-led side, but also brought the side’s campaign back on track after they suffered a loss against New Zealand in their campaign opener. No wonder then that they will be eyeing another scalp.

But not everything is rosy in the England camp. They have been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate against Sri Lanka. The Match Referee imposed the fine after Broad’s side were ruled to be two overs short of their target when time allowances were taken into consideration.

Broad is facing the possibility of missing a critical game unless England improve their over-rate in the field. If the offence is repeated, Broad will be suspended. Will the ban threat affect England’s performance?

England’s victory over Sri Lanka, meanwhile, have opened up the group and all the teams are fancying their chances. Although Sri Lanka and South Africa both have four points each, the former sit at the top of the points table thanks to a superior net run-rate. New Zealand and England are both on two points each.

“The confidence and belief we will get from that win against Sri Lanka, going into our final two group games is going to be huge,” said Broad. “It’s in our hands a little bit. We have got the advantage of having a few games under the lights here. Conditions are extremely different from anything we’ve had before. South Africa haven’t played under the lights yet and we can use our experience to our advantage.”

For Broad, the crucial factor in the turnaround has been getting some momentum going. “We know what these tournaments are like. If you can get on a run, if you can get a few guys going, you can win these tournaments — and it’s not out of our grasp,” said Broad. “South Africa probably haven’t fired as you would have expected in this tournament so far. But we are not taking them lightly. They’ve some dangerous players who can get them over the line.”