South Africa stay unbeaten at T20 World Cup after beating England

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

GROS ISLET, St. Lucia (AP) — Undefeated South Africa pulled off a seven-run win over defending champion England in the Super Eight playoffs at the Twenty20 World Cup on Friday.

Harry Brook, who made 53, and Liam Livingstone, with 33 off 17 balls, had the chase in control for England with 25 needed off 18 balls until fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje dismissed them in the last three overs.

England were restricted to 156-6 in reply to South Africa’s 163-6.

“Getting to those last three overs, the odds looked heavily against you,” South Africa captain Aiden Markram said. “But the bowlers came back, it shows a lot of skill and shows the fight inside. As a whole, we’re getting closer to that complete game of cricket. We’re not there just yet but we’re getting there.”

Quinton de Kock finished with 65 as he smacked the tournament’s joint-fastest half-century off 22 balls, and David Miller provided the impetus in the latter half of South Africa’s innings with 43 off 28.

South Africa’s win streak was extended to six games and they are a firm favourite for the semifinals after two wins from two in their group.

England suffered their first loss in the Super Eight after they beat the West Indies by eight wickets at the same venue.

South Africa squeezed the chase through spinner Keshav Maharaj (2-25) in the first 10 overs as England could score only a run-a-ball 60 and lost four wickets. The batters couldn’t get momentum in the powerplay despite Jonny Bairstow (17) getting a life when Heinrich Klaasen dropped a sitter at third man.

Captain Jos Buttler believed England lost the game during the powerplay, as nobody could repeat de Kock’s antics. “Quinton de Kock came out with a lot of intent, really attacked that powerplay and we couldn’t match that,” Buttler said.

“We came back really well with the ball and I thought Brook and Livi had a fantastic partnership there to take us close … South Africa closed out well.”

Brook and Livingstone capitalized on full tosses from Ottneil Baartman and brought down the target to 25 off the final three overs before Livingstone sent Rabada’s full toss straight to a catch at deep backward square leg.

Needing 15 off Nortje’s final over, Brook was brilliantly caught by Markram over his shoulders while running to end England’s threat.

Earlier, de Kock dominated South Africa’s powerplay and had them motoring along at 63-0 before England pulled them back through spinners Adil Rashid (1-20) and Moeen Ali (1-25).

De Kock put fast bowler Jofra Archer on the mat early with two successive sixes in a 21-run over. De Kock was given a life on 58 when video replays suggested Mark Wood’s fingers were not underneath the catch. The decision left England players fuming.

Buttler gave England hope with a splendid one-handed catch to remove de Kock, and a run out of Klaasen.

Jofra Archer also rallied to finish with 3-40.