By BV Swagath
South Africa defeated England by 3 runs at Chittagong to confirm their entry into the Semi Finals from Group 1 of the ICC World T20 2014. England are out of the tournament having lost two out of their three matches so far.
Although, the margin of win was just three runs, in reality it was a comfortable victory for South Africa as the equation got beyond England in the last 2-3 overs of their run chase.
It was a high-scoring affair at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium as the bowlers struggled gripping the wet ball. During the South African innings, players were off the field twice because of a light tower failure. This match dragged for nearly four hours to come up with a result as the dew was terribly heavy, especially in the second half. Despite all that, South Africa managed to defend its total of 196.
Hashim Amla laid the foundation with a 37-ball 56 with 6 fours and 2 sixes. Skipper AB de Villiers produced a sizzling knock of 69 not out from 28 balls with 9 fours and 3 sixes.
England had a fabulous start of 46 in 4.4 overs before they started losing key wickets. Wayne Parnell took the first three wickets to fall including the big one of Alex Hales. Leggie Imran Tahir bowled superbly yet again and tonight he claimed the important wickets of Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler.
Not a single English batsman could last the distance and in the end, England finished with 193 for 7. The top scorer was Alex Hales with 38 from 22 balls. The Man of the Match was AB de Villiers.
Toss and Teams: England have won the toss and asked South Africa to bat first at Chittagong. The English side is unchanged while SA have AB de Villiers leading the side. Faf du Plessis has been suspended because of a slow over-rate and he has been replaced with Farhaan Behardien. Also Wayne Parnell comes in for Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
If South Africa win tonight, then they will make it to the Semi Finals. England need two more wins including this for the Semis.