South Africa squandered a brilliant half century from Quinton de Kock but still held their collective nerve to beat England by seven runs in their T20 World Cup Super Eight game at the Daren Sammy Stadium in Gros Islet, St.Lucia on Friday.

South Africa posted what seemed a below-par total of 163-6, reduced England to 61-4, bowled poorly to assist their recovery to 139-4 but then manufactured yet another remarkable comeback in the closing overs to win with Marco Jansen and Anrich Nortje bowling brilliant 19th and 20th overs of the run-chase as England closed on 156-6.

England needed ‘just’ 25 off the final three overs with six wickets in hand and two well set batsmen but Liam Livingstone (33) swung a Kagiso Rabada full toss to Tristan Stubbs on the square leg boundary and Harry Brook (53) was spectacularly caught by captain Aiden Markram running back towards the long off boundary in the final over bowled by Nortje who defended 14 with ease.


De Kock was at his destructive best taking 21 runs of Jofra Archer’s first over with two legside sixes and a four reaching his 50 from just 22 balls equalling the fastest of the tournament so far. He was dismissed for 65 from 38 balls with a quartet of fours and sixes but it looked like it might be an innings in vain.

David Miller did his best to overcome a collapse of 4-27 in 4.5 overs with a tempered innings of 43 off 28 balls (4×4, 2×6) but in conditions looking good for 200+ the South African bowlers knew they would have to dig deep, again, and they did.

South Africa needed early wickets and one duly arrived when Phil Salt (11) was well caught by Reeza Hendricks cover driving Kagiso Rabada and Jonny Bairstow fell to an equally good catch by Nortje at backward point slicing a cut against the excellent Keshav Maharaj who finished with 2-25 from his four overs.


Maharaj claimed the critical wicket of a frustrated captain Jos Buttler (17 off 20 balls) who miscued a sweep to Heinrich Klaasen at deep midwicket and Moeen Ali, also feeling the pressure of a rapidly mounting asking rate, pulled Ottneil Baartman to Maharaj at square leg to depart for nine from 10 balls.

De Kock enjoyed a controversial moment of good fortune on 58 when third umpire, Joel Wilson, adjudged Mark Wood’s catch at long on off the bowling of Adil Rashid to have touched the ground but he was unable to capitalise with a flying edge against Archer brilliantly taken by a diving Jos Buttler behind the stumps.

There was more brilliance to come from Buttler when David Miller called Heinrich Klaasen through for a bye after the England captain had fumbled a legside wide. But he recovered with lightning speed and threw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end with Klaasen (8 from 13 balls) coasting on the assumption he was running to the ‘safe’ end.


Markram (1) dragged a cover drive against Rashid onto his stumps second ball and South Africa were in deep trouble on a good batting pitch at 113-4 in the 15th over.

Hendricks earlier endured a horrible time at the crease using a bat, apparently, without a ‘middle’ as he managed just a single boundary in a painful innings of 19 from 25 balls which ended with a desperate heave against offspinner Moeen Ali to Brook at long off.

Stubbs (12 off 11 balls) was undone by England’s smart, disciplined ‘death’ bowling and was unable to rescue a disappointing innings.

Both teams won their opening match in the second phase of the tournament with South Africa beating the USA by 18-runs in Antigua on Wednesday morning while England prevailed by eight-wickets against the West Indies at the same venue on Wednesday evening.

SOUTH AFRICA: Quiton de Kock (wkt), Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram (captain), Tristan Stubbs, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi, Ottneil Baartman.

ENGLAND: Jos Buttler (captain & wkt), Phil Salt, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Reece Topley.