Proteas down England to remain unbeaten

HEINRICH Klaasen and David Miller of the Proteas celebrate following another ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup victory yesterday. | Shutterstock

HEINRICH Klaasen and David Miller of the Proteas celebrate following another ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup victory yesterday. | Shutterstock

Published Jun 21, 2024


SA: 163-6 (De Kock 65, Miller 43, Archer 3-40)

ENG: 156-6 (Harry Brook 53, Liam Livingstone 33, Maharaj 2-25)

South Africa won by seven runs

SOUTH AFRICA scrambled to yet another close victory as they defended a seemingly mediocre 163 to defeat England by seven runs at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in St Lucia.

To get the defence started, Kagiso Rabada returned to new ball bowling duties after coming on as a first-change option against the USA on Wednesday, and got into the wickets straight away with the big wicket of the in-form Phil Salt (11).

It wouldn’t be a Proteas World Cup game without a few fumbles, as Klaasen dropped Bairstow in the fourth over only for Maharaj to account for the right-handed batter soon after.

Maharaj floated the ball nicely outside off-stump, confusing Bairstow to think it was short enough to cut past Anrich Nortje at backward point. Bairstow (16) found a diving Nortje to give South Africa their second scalp of the day.

Maharaj (2-25) got in a second blow, dismissing England captain Jos Buttler to bring the Proteas back into the game with the score reading 54-3 in the ninth over.

Ottneil Baartman, after delivering a neat first over where he conceded only four runs, returned for his second and got the wicket of left-handed batter Moeen Ali.

Credit has to be given to Baartman (1-27) and the video analyst for Ali’s wicket as Baartman quickly switched and bowled around the wicket to the left-handed batter, enticing him into a pull-shot that was caught at deep square-leg, the same way he was dismissed in the match against the West Indies earlier in the week.

After a few quiet middle-overs with the Proteas attack dominating, Harry Brook and Liam Livingstone decided it was time to go big as they smashed 18 in the 15th over, 13 in the 16th and 21 in the 17th, to take England within 25 runs of the target.

However, Rabada (2-32) and Nortje (1-35) finished the game off with a wicket apiece to see South Africa cross the line.

Earlier, upon being sent in to bat first, South Africa made one change to the playing XI that took on the USA earlier in the week, as Tabraiz Shamsi made way for death-bowling specialist Baartman.

At the top of the order, Quinton de Kock quickly got into his groove and made his intentions clear from the get-go, singling out England quick Jofra Archer as the man he would put to the sword on the day.

With a series of slogs over the deep square-leg boundary and smart guides over short third-man, De Kock smashed 22 runs off the Archer over to give the Proteas a great start.

At the other end, Reeza Hendricks (19) was struggling for rhythm as he became England’s first wicket, skying a perfectly-flighted delivery from Ali to leave the Proteas on 87-1 at the halfway mark.

From there on in, Buttler introduced leg-spinner Adil Rashid into the attack and the 36-year-old squeezed the momentum out of the Proteas batting unit.

Rashid’s brilliance and tidy fielding efforts from the “Three Lions” led to De Kock (65, 4x4, 4x6) and Klaasen’s (1) wickets, and it was clear a 200-plus total was not on the cards for the Proteas.

Once again, David Miller (43, 4x4, 2x6) took the responsibility upon himself and lifted the Proteas from 113-4 in the 15th over to 155-5 when he lost his wicket in the first ball of the 20th over.

The Proteas would only add eight more runs to their score and finished on a seemingly mediocre 163-6.