Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
De Villiers walloped nine boundaries and three sixes during his knock of 69
South Africa stand-in captain AB de Villiers hammered a stunning half-century to lead the Proteas to a nail-biting three-run win over England and carry them into the semi-finals of the World Twenty20.
De Villiers was well supported by opening batsman Hashim Amla, who made a career-best score of 56, and left-arm pace bowler Wayne Parnell, who dented England’s chase with three quick wickets.
England captain Stuart Broad would have been brooding over his decision to bowl first as South Africa’s opening pair of Amla and Quinton de Kock amassed 90-run partnership, during which Amla brought up his half-century, before he was caught by Alex Hales at deep midwicket off the bowling of Broad.
Amla’s career-best knock of 56 came off 37 balls and included six boundaries and two sixes.
The floodlights went out twice during Amla and de Kock’s partnership, the first coming in the second over and the second instance coming in the eighth over.
De Kock ended up making 29 runs before he was stumped by Jos Buttler off the bowling of James Tredwell.
Jean Paul (JP) Duminy only scored five runs before he was run out by Ravi Bopara.
David Miller and de Villiers gave the Proteas the upper hand with a quickfire 54-run partnership, during which de Villiers registered his half-century, before Miller was caught by Moeen Ali at long-on off the bowling of Chris Jordan for 19.
Albie Morkel only made three runs before he was clean bowled by Tim Bresnan off the last ball of the innings.
De Villiers remained unbeaten on 69 off 28 balls, which included nine boundaries and three sixes.
Bresnan, Jordan, Tredwell and Broad picked up one wicket apiece as South Africa finished on 196/5.
Chasing 197 to win, England got off to a solid start as Michael Lumb and Hales put together a 46-run partnership before Lumb was caught by Miller at extra cover off the bowling of Parnell for 18.
Hales went on to make 38 before he was caught by Miller at deep cover off the bowling of Parnell.
Hales should have considered himself very lucky not to be dismissed on nine as the umpire signalled that Morkel had overstepped, even though replays clearly showed that his foot was behind the line.
Parnell struck again the very next delivery when Ali was caught behind for just 10 runs.
Eoin Morgan failed to have an impact as he was caught behind off the bowling of Imran Tahir for 14.
Buttler made a quickfire 34 before he was caught by Morkel at backward point off the bowling of Tahir.
Jordan managed to make 16 runs before he was brilliantly caught by de Villiers off the bowling of Beuran Hendricks.
Bopara smashed a rapid 31 before he was caught by Miller off the bowling of Dale Steyn.
Needing 22 runs off the last five balls, England only managed to score 18 runs and were thus left three runs short of their target.
Parnell was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Tahir snapped up two and Hendricks and Steyn chipped in with one wicket each.
Broad was “heartbroken” to have come so close, and said: “Yeah we’ve lost by three, it was a fantastic game, credit to the players for that. We’re heartbroken to come out on the wrong end but AB has taken the game away for us. It didn’t go to plan in the last three overs but apart from that it was a good game for us. We’ve had some guys get going this innings but no outstanding score which you need chasing such a big total.”
De Villiers, who was named Man of the Match, was pleased to have led his side into the semi-finals of the World Twenty20, and said: “It was a great game and the boys did extremely well. It’s very tough conditions to field in. I knew from the start we had to be unpredictable and mix things up. But once again the execution of the bowlers was amazing. I’ve lost a few as captain in T20s and it was important for me to get the guys through and get Faf back pumped for the semi-finals.”