Calcutta/Chittagong: Stand-in captain AB de Villiers knocked the stuffing out of England attack with a blistering 28-ball 69 before the bowlers chipped in with useful contributions to propel South Africa to a three-run win and a semi-final berth at the World T20, in Chittagong, on Saturday.
Asked to bat, South Africa rode De Villiers’s unbeaten knock and Hashim Amla’s 37-ball 56 to post a commanding 196 for five, before Wayne Parnell (3/31) and Imran Tahir (2/27) restricted England to 193 for seven in a last-over finish at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
South Africa’s was this edition’s highest total. This was their third win in four attempts while England suffered their second defeat in three outings to be eliminated. Stepping in for the suspended Faf du Plessis, De Villiers came to the party after experienced opener Amla laid the foundation. De Villiers smashed nine fours and three sixes while Amla hit four fours and two maximums.
Chasing a daunting total, England started as well as they could, racing away to 46 within no time before Michael Lumb (18) was taken care of by Parnell, playing in his first match of the tournament, in the fifth over.
Last match’s centurion, Alex Hales looked in the mood as he hit his way to a 22-ball 38 before Parnell struck again. Aiding the left-arm pacer on both occasions was David Miller, who pulled off two fine catches. The first one was a low catch diving to his left at extra cover while the second was also a solid effort as Miller came running in from deep cover.
De Villiers, who was also adjudged the Man of the Match, said that he had to shuffle his bowlers regularly to remain unpredictable, as he knew it was going to be a close finish.
AB de Villiers (MoM): It was a great game of cricket. The boys did extremely well and all credit to them. Even the England team played very well. I was fortunate that it was our day.
The conditions were very tough for fielding. I knew from the beginning that it is going to be a close game. We had to mix our bowling in order to be unpredictable.
Stuart Broad: We’ve lost by three runs, so it was a fantastic effort by our batsmen. In fact, it was a great game of cricket with almost 400 runs scored in 40 overs. So credit to both the teams. We are a bit heartbroken to finish on the wrong side. It was De Villiers who took the game away from us. He played some exceptional shots, especially targeting the short boundary.