T20 World Cup: South Africa maintain unbeaten run after beating England by seven runs

Gros Islet (St Lucia), June 21 (IANS) South Africa held their nerve to survive a late counterattack from Harry Brook and Liam Livingstone and maintain their unbeaten run in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 with a seven-run win over England in the Super Eight stage clash at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium here on Friday.

After England restricted South Africa to 163/6 in 20 overs, the defending champions were in tatters at 61-4 and needed 101 from their final nine overs. But Brook played a calculated 53 and shared a sensational 78-run stand off 42 balls for the fifth wicket with Liam Livingstone, who smashed a 17-ball 33.

England needed 25 from 18 balls to ace the chase, but South Africa gave away only 17 runs in the last three overs to seal a thrilling last-over win and climb to the top of Group 2. For the Proteas, Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada took two wickets each while a brilliant Anrich Nortje and an erring Ottneil Baartman took a scalp apiece.

Chasing 164, Phil Salt began positively with a pulled six and lofted four, before Reeza Hendricks leaped to his left to take a catch at cover on a drive off Rabada.

The fast-bowling spearhead could have got his second wicket when Jonny Bairstow slashed to deep third man, who could not hold on to the chance.

After England’s Power-play ended at 41/1, the defending champions suffered a meltdown as Bairstow cut straight to diving backward point and Jos Buttler pulled straight to deep mid-wicket off Maharaj. When Baartman had Moeen Ali pulling to deep mid-wicket, England were in deep trouble at 61/4 in 10.2 overs.

But Livingstone and Brook began to accelerate – the former began by slogging Nortje’s pacy ball for four, while the latter swept Maharaj and cut Jansen for a brace of fours.

England took full advantage of Rabada’s pace-on deliveries as Livingstone swiped him with the wind for six, followed by Brook cutting and scooping for two fours to take 18 runs off the 15th over.

Nortje continued to bowl pace-on balls and Brook made merry by lofting over mid-off and nailing back foot drive to take two fours. Baartman missed his lengths as he bowled three full tosses, which Livingstone duly dispatched for two fours and a six. Brook then chipped him over mid-on for four as 21 runs came off the 17th over.

Though Livingstone mishit a Rabada full-toss to deep backward square leg, Brook got his fifty in 35 balls as the equation became 14 runs needed off the final over. But Nortje deceived him with a slower ball, which he chipped in the air, and Aiden Markram, running backward from mid-off, took a brilliant catch over his right shoulder, which effectively sealed the game in South Africa’s favour.

Brief scores:

South Africa 163/6 in 20 overs (Quinton de Kock 65, David Miller 43; Jofra Archer 3-40) beat England 156/6 in 20 overs (Harry Brook 53, Liam Livingstone 33; Keshav Maharaj 2-25, Kagiso Rabada 2-32) by seven runs

–IANS

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