T20 World Cup: South Africa Beat England by 7 Runs

South Africa defeated defending champions England by 7 runs in their T20 World Cup Super Eights fixture on Friday in Saint Lucia. The win puts them at the top of Group 2 and in a solid position to qualify for the semi finals. 

England won the toss and elected to bowl first, putting one of the best batting lineups in the tournament to the test on what seemed to be a batters paradise. South Africa got off to an explosive start as the in-form Quinton de Kock started back up where he left off against the USA two days ago. 

South Africa's Quinton de Kock plays a shot during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between England and South Africa
Associated Press / Alamy Stock Photo

The South Africans scored 63 in the powerplay off the back of de Kock who went on to bring up fifty off 22 balls. It equalled Aaron Jones for the fastest half-century of the tournament. 

England did manage to pull it back with a couple of wickets in the middle overs however when Archer banged in a short slower ball which de Kock edged to Jos Buttler. Heinrich Klaasen, on 8, then responded late to non-striker David Miller’s call for a run and ended up run out by Buttler. These two wickets would be very costly to South Africa who seemed like they would be able to score 200+ after their terrific start.

David Miller scored 43 off 28 balls which included six boundaries but didn’t get much help from the other end, as South Africa finished at 163/6 in their 20 overs. Jofra Archer was the pick of the bowlers despite being expensive early on, completing his spell of 4 overs with three wickets for 40 runs. Spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali had a wicket apiece and were economical on a pitch that seemed to favor the slower bowlers.

England’s chase got off to a poor start when opener Phill Salt mistimed a lofted drive off the bowling of Rabada, looping one to Hendrick who took a spectacular catch with two-hands.

Phil Salt was tempted into an aerial drive off Rabada but did not hit it as well as he hoped and Hendricks leapt two-handed to his left to hold on to a spectacular catch. Rabada should have had a second when Bairstow slashed him to deep third, but Klaasen was unable to hold on. Bairstow followed shortly after, caught at backward point by Nortje off the bowling of Maharaj.

Buttler and Ali followed quickly after and England found themselves in a spot of bother at 61-4 after 10.2 overs. This is when Harry Brooks came to the crease and was joined by Liam Livingstone. The two put on 78 runs, getting England into a position where they needed just 25 from the last three overs. 

Rabada struck back in the 18th over, getting Livingstone caught at deep square leg to even out the match once again. He then proceeded to only give up only four runs in his over to push the required rate above 10 once again, as England needed 21 from the last 2. 

It was then Marco Jansens’ turn, allowing just 7 runs off the penultimate over with no boundaries conceded. This meant that Harry Brook and England needed 14 off the last over with Nortje bowling. A difficult but not impossible position.

Disaster struck however in the first ball of the over as Brooks fell to a stunning catch from Aidan Markram over his shoulder running back from mid-on. Tailenders Archer and Curran couldn’t do much after the big wicket, only managing six off the last 5 deliveries.

Even with the loss, England are still in a decent position to qualify for the semi-finals. They beat West Indies earlier in the Super Eights and will likely need a win against USA in their last match to make it through.

South Africa seemed to have already qualified with a good net run rate and two wins under their belt. For them to not qualify for the next round they would need two teams to finish with two wins and a heavy loss in their final match.