WORLD T20: South Africa win final over thriller against England to enhance semi-final hopes


England’s hopes of reaching the T20 World Cup semi-finals are in the balance after they lost a final-over thriller against South Africa in St. Lucia.

Harry Brook resurrected a floundering chase of 164 on a tricky pitch to leave 14 runs required from the final six balls.

But he was brilliantly caught for 53 by Aiden Markram off the first ball of the 20th over as the game swung back to the Proteas.

Sam Curran’s boundary left England needing nine from the last three balls but Anrich Nortje closed out a seven-run win.

South Africa are now on the brink of qualification for the semi-finals, having won both of their Super 8 matches so far.

Their score of 163-6 was helped by a rapid start, with Quinton de Kock hitting 65 from 38 balls before England fought back through their spinners and some superb fielding.

England return to Barbados to play the United States on Sunday and a win would still put them in a strong position to progress.

There is rain forecast, however, and if West Indies beat the USA on Friday night and follow that by overcoming the Proteas, England’s fate could again come down to net run-rate.

England edged out in final over

England looked out of the game for much of the chase with Jos Buttler, Phil Salt, Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow all caught cheaply to leave them 61-4.

By the end they could easily have won it.

The pendulum swung their way when Proteas seamer Ottneil Baartman bowled five full tosses in the 17th over which cost 21.

That left England, who earlier needed 104 from the last 10 overs and 77 from the last six, requiring just 25 from 18 balls.

But Liam Livingstone was dismissed when he hit a full toss from Kagiso Rabada straight to deep square-leg in the next over, and the South Africa quick only conceded four singles.

Left-armer Marco Jansen kept the pressure on, with England unable to find a boundary in the penultimate over.

Still, with Brook at the crease and just 14 needed, England were right in the game – but it was fitting the decisive moment was a piece of athletic fielding in a match packed with such efforts.

With Brook trying to clear long-off, Proteas captain Markram ran back, leaped and held on to the catch as he sprawled on the turf.

Curran turned down a single in the dying moments, backing himself to clear the ropes, but Markram’s effort was the match-winning moment. (BBC)

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