World T20: Root dazzles as England chase down 230 against South Africa

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World T20: Root dazzles as England chase down 230 against South Africa

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Debarshee Mitra

03/18/2016

Blazing knocks from Jason Roy and Joe Root helped England to an astonishing two-wicket win over the Proteas in a high-scoring encounter at Mumbai. Earlier, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and Quinton de Kock took apart the English bowlers to post a mammoth score of 229 only to see England return the favor.

Brief Scores: South Africa 229/4 in 20 overs (Hashim Amla 58(31), JP Duminy 54(28); Moeen Ali 2/34, Adil Rashid 1/35,); England 230/8 in 19.4 overs (Joe Root 83(44), Jason Roy 43(16); Kyle Abbott 2/40, Imran Tahir 1/28)

Chasing an improbable target of 230, England managed to better the start South Africa got in their innings. Jason Roy hit four boundaries in the first over of Kagiso Rabada, before Alex Hales took apart Dale Steyn in the next. With 44 runs on the board in the first two overs, English fans received a glimmer of hope of chasing down this total.

However, Kyle Abbott delivered two quick blows as he dismissed both the openers in consecutive overs. By the end of the powerplay, England had 89 runs on the board, but had also lost three wickets for it.

Skipper Eoin Morgan and Joe Root looked to rebuild the innings, but Imran Tahir and Duminy tied them down before Duminy picked up the crucial wicket of Morgan in the 10th over as Root kept fighting a lone battle at the other end.

Jos Buttler was the perfect man to come onto the crease at that point for England, and he showed exactly what he is capable of when he deposited Duminy into the stands in the last ball of the 12th over.

The duo formed the partnership that England so desperately needed, and England needed just 47 runs from the last five overs. However, just when it seemed like England were cruising to a victory, de Kock stumped Buttler, off Tahir, in the 16th over, and the 75-run partnership came to an end.

There was no stopping Root though, as he looked determined to win the game single-handedly for his side. After flicking Abbott for a boundary down the leg side, Root hammered him down the ground for a huge six. He then went after Morris in the 18th over and brought down the required rate to almost a run-a-ball after hitting three consecutive boundaries.

Root took England close to an unlikely win, but did not stay on to finish, as he was caught in the deep in the 19th over, with 11 runs still needed to win. However, Ali took over and guided his team to a stunning two-wicket win, after some late drama saw South Africa grab two wickets in the final over.

Earlier, despite the loss against West Indies, England refrained from making any changes to their lineup. South Africa included both Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock into the side, which meant that AB de Villiers dropped down to the middle order once again after playing as an opener for the last six months.

England won the toss and decided to put South Africa into bat. The Proteas got off to a flying start as de Kock took Reece Topley to the cleaners in the second over. Morgan decided not to protect the square boundary on the off-side for de Kock, and the southpaw hit a six and two boundaries to the point boundary.

De Kock was in scintillating form, and in the next over he amassed 20 runs off David Willey. The wicketkeeper-batsman kept peppering the straight boundary as he charged down the track against the left-arm pacer.

Hashim Amla joined the party soon, when Morgan brought in Moeen Ali into the attack. The South African hit two boundaries through the cover before Topley, who still looked dazed from the hammering de Kock handed out to him, dropped his catch at mid-off.

That turned out to be a costly mistake as Amla scored 22 runs off Chris Jordan in the next over. South Africa raced to 83 runs at the end of six overs, as the openers built a platform from which the Proteas could bat England out of the game.

After completing his 50, De Kock departed in the eighth over after being caught at the midwicket fence off Ali. De Villiers and Amla were also removed in quick succession by Rashid and Ali respectively. This slew of wickets slowed the run rate down as JP Duminy and du Plessis stabilized the innings.

However, Duminy and Miller provided the impetus they were looking for towards the end of the innings with two brilliant knocks. The diminutive left-hander hit Topley for two consecutive sixes in the 19th over, before completing his half-century with a six off Jordan in the final over. In the end, the Proteas were able to post a mammoth total of 229 runs, as Miller finished off the innings with a four and a six.

Shoaib Malik or Johnson Charles? Who will score more runs?

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