World Twenty20 2016: Joe Root helps England beat South Africa

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport
ICC World Twenty20, Group 1, Mumbai:
South Africa 229-4 (20 overs): Amla 58 (31), Duminy 54* (28)
England 230-8 (19.4 overs): Root 83 (44), Roy 43 (16)
England won by two wickets
Scorecard and standings

England pulled off the second-highest run chase in Twenty20 international history to stun South Africa and get their World T20 campaign back on track.

Chasing 230 in Mumbai, Joe Root struck a composed 44-ball 83 after Jason Roy blitzed 43 from 16 deliveries.

England lost two wickets in the last over with the scores level before Moeen Ali sealed it with two balls to spare.

South Africa earlier posted 229-6, with Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy all making half-centuries.

At the time, that was the second-highest score at a World T20, only for England to trump it with a display of hitting that bettered the Proteas, who in turn managed to bowl as badly as Eoin Morgan's side.

For England, it was an excellent reply to a crushing defeat by West Indies in their opening game and further evidence of the improvement of their limited-overs batting since the 2015 World Cup.

They next face Afghanistan in Delhi on Wednesday, knowing that victory would leave them well-placed to earn a spot in the semi-finals.

Listen: We had to play out of our skins - Root

Roy gets it rolling

As England dragged themselves off the field after being hammered in the first half of the match, it seemed highly unlikely they would even get close to South Africa's huge total.

But the tone was set by Roy, who hit Kagiso Rabada's first ball of the innings over mid-off for four and then helped himself to three sixes over the leg-side as the Proteas' attack inexplicably erred.

With Alex Hales, who was dropped by Kyle Abbott off the first ball he faced from Dale Steyn, also in on the act, England took 44 off the first two overs of the innings - the most in T20 international history.

  • 1st over, Rabada to Roy - 4-4-0-5wd-4-0-4
  • 2nd over, Steyn to Hales (two balls to Roy) - 4(dropped catch)-4-4-1-4-6
  • 3rd over, Abbott to Hales and Stokes - 4-0-Wicket-1-6-1

Root's runs and a tense finish

For all of the early pyrotechnics, it looked like England would still fall short as wickets fell with regularity and South Africa's spin pair of Duminy and Imran Tahir went 29 balls without conceding a boundary.

However, Root re-energised the chase by pulling Duminy for six and, in tandem with Jos Buttler, added 75 in only six overs.

Even after Buttler was stumped down the leg-side off Tahir, the classy Root took four fours and a six from the next eight balls he faced before he holed out with 11 still needed from 10 deliveries.

Moeen and Chris Jordan got the scores level but, with one still needed from Abbott's final over, Jordan was well caught by Duminy at deep mid-wicket and David Willey was run out without facing after being sent back by Moeen.

With the tension rising, Moeen finally stabbed the winning run down the ground.

Joe Root wagon wheel

Not enough for the Proteas

Although England completed a remarkable chase, the form of their bowling attack - which was dismantled by Chris Gayle in the previous game - will remain a concern, with South Africa's innings allowed to get off to a flying start as a result of some woeful inaccuracy.

At the end of the first over, South Africa were 2-0. After five, they were 72-0 as De Kock and Amla destroyed everything that was sent down by Reece Topley, Willey, Moeen and Jordan.

  • 2nd over, Topley to de Kock (one ball to Amla) - 6-0-4-4-1-0
  • 3rd over, Willey to de Kock - 0-0-6-4-4-6
  • 4th over, Moeen to Amla (two balls to de Kock) - 4-0-4-1(dropped catch)-4-0
  • 5th over, Jordan to Amla - 4-4-4-6-4-0

From a seemingly hopeless position, England were dragged back into the game by their slow bowlers.

Moeen recovered to remove both De Kock and Amla as he returned figures of 2-34, while Adil Rashid was brilliant in a four-over spell of 1-35 that accounted for AB de Villiers.

Although the pacemen returned to take further punishment, incredibly the huge total did not prove enough for South Africa.

What they said

Man of the match Joe Root: "We knew we just had to back the natural instincts and play good cricket shots. After the start we got, we couldn't have asked for better, it made the middle order a lot easier and put South Africa under pressure straight away, which is exactly where we needed to be."

England captain Eoin Morgan: "I felt we had to play out of our skins and we did just that. There is a lot of talent in our group and the best way for us to play is how we did tonight. The freedom that we play with is the best solution for us. We had a lot of big chases in the last year, and Roy and Hales were both outstanding in the start we got."

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis: "We've all played this game long enough to know that no score is 'unchaseable' and that was the message to our bowlers. England batted very aggressively in the first six to put us under real pressure. They batted exceptionally well but there were way too many extras from our point of view."

Paul Collingwood on Twitter
England coaching consultant Paul Collingwood, their World T20-winning captain from 2010, was put through the emotional wringer

What's next?

A win for England over the lowest-ranked side, Afghanistan, on Tuesday could mean victory in their final match against Sri Lanka would give them a place in the semi-finals. South Africa play Afghanistan on Sunday.

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