Proteas stunned in last-gasp defeat to England


England produced a redeeming batting display as they beat South Africa by two wickets at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, in their Group One World T20 encounter on Friday.

The match proved to be the batsmen’s shoot-out, as both sides smashed totals of over 220 with astonishing run rates of over 11.00 apiece. It was England, however, who produced the unexpected edge, as they grazed past the Protea’s total of 229/4 in their 20 overs.

At the conclusion, there was not much difference between the two sides as England reeled in the fine thread and chased the total with just two balls to spare.

In fact, the Protea’s can feel significantly unlucky as they were the side to retain wickets better – losing just four wickets with their monster total. If more overs were played, South Africa would have undoubtedly come out on top, as the English would have succumbed to just two remaining batsmen.

It is greatly argued that T20 encounters are merely ‘hit-and-run’ affairs, and this match proved no different. However, credit must be given where due and England showed great courage and determination to chase down and clobber down a monster total when they looked down and buried at the break – irrespective of how many wickets they lost.

T20 matches are all about strategizing to the limit of overs, and both sides had the right approach to the game, but England upheaved their innings a little bit better.

One major difference, however, was in the contrasting bowling attacks with respect to the amount of extras conceded. The Proteas were harshly reckless in their bowling spell, as they gave away an inexcusable 26 extras from personal errors. England conceded just four extras in their bowling attack and in a game where just two balls were the difference; the 22-run difference in extras shows heavily costly for South Africa.

Out of the 26 extras, the Proteas conceded 20 runs in wide deliveries – something that must certainly be improved if they are to progress further in the tournament.

In the game's all-round batting tenure, England’s Joe Root proved to be the top run-scorer of the day, scoring an astonishing 83 off just 44 balls. Runner-up in the English side was opener, Jason Roy, scoring 43 off 16 balls.

South Africa’s batting line-up saw three half-centurions in Hashim Amla scoring 58 off 31 balls; Quinton de Kock scoring 52 off 24 balls and JP Duminy scoring 54 off 28 balls.

A promising sign for South Africa in those figures is that JP Duminy managed to conjure up the much-needed form that he needs for the Proteas moving forward.

The batsmen played their part for South Africa and had produced enough to win, but had ultimately been let down by a wayward and inconsistent bowling attack. The Proteas may have shot themselves in the foot, as the dark cloud of choking continues to loom over their heads in major showcases. Better sooner rather than later however, as South Africa are still in contention to win their first ever major cricket silverware.   

England have now won one out of two games in the World T20 so far after losing to West Indies in their first encounter. This was South Africa’s first match and they have three games remaining in their Group, unto which they need to win in order to be placed in the top two for progression to the Semi-Finals.

The Proteas next encounter will be against qualifiers, Afghanistan, at the same venue in Mumbai on March 20th and will most likely use that game to spark momentum for their remaining fixtures.  

Image: Devastated Protea players walk off after their loss