Proteas turn things around

Deadly duo... South African skipper A.B. de Villiers (left) and Wayne Parnell shone in their team’s victory against England.-AP Deadly duo... South African skipper A.B. de Villiers (left) and Wayne Parnell shone in their team’s victory against England.

South Africa entered the last four, winning its last three games by wafer-thin margins. Shreedutta Chidananda reports.

South Africa sealed its place in the semifinals of the ICC World Twenty20 from Group 1 after winning its last three games by wafer-thin margins. The Proteas had begun with a defeat to Sri Lanka but turned things around with victories against New Zealand, the Netherlands and England.

Dale Steyn was the hero of the match against New Zealand, keeping Ross Taylor at bay and denying the Kiwis the seven runs they required off the final over. South Africa then scraped past the Netherlands by six runs, the leg-spinner Imran Tahir taking four for 21 to help his side survive a major scare. A. B. de Villiers shone in South Africa’s final group game against England, his blistering, late assault in the first innings helping deliver victory by three runs.

Sri Lanka had looked strong, particularly after shooting the Netherlands out for 39, but England landed a stunning blow in Chittagong. Alex Hales became the first Englishman to score a century in T20 internationals as his side chased down a target of 190 — that seemed improbable at one stage — with four balls to spare.

That was as good as it got for England, while New Zealand came up with a Brendon McCullum-inspired win over Holland.

Over in Group 2 in Dhaka, India booked its spot in the last four pretty emphatically leaving the others to squabble over the remaining berth. West Indies scored a tense, high-voltage victory against Australia.

Darren Sammy struck an unbeaten 13-ball-34 to guide his men past the target of 178. This is a game that will live long in the memory for the belligerent West Indian celebrations on the field that followed the win. James Faulkner’s remarks that he didn’t like the West Indies had rubbed the Caribbeans the wrong way and they exacted hot, fulminating revenge.

Australia’s goose was cooked after this loss, for George Bailey’s lot had been beaten by Pakistan in their first game with Umar Akmal making 94.

For the host nation, things went from bad to worse after consecutive losses to West Indies and India. The camp is particularly downcast after the Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hasan lashed out at the players. That has not, however, stopped the locals from turning out in large, vociferous numbers every time.

THE SCORES GROUP 1:

South Africa 170 for six in 20 overs (J. P. Duminy 86 not out, Hashim Amla 41)bt New Zealand 168 for eight in 20 overs (Ross Taylor 62, Kane Williamson 51, Dale Steyn four for 17).

The Netherlands 39 in 10.3 overs (Ajantha Mendis three for 12, Angelo Mathews three for 16)lost to Sri Lanka 40 for one in five overs.

South Africa 145 for nine in 20 overs (Hashim Amla 43, Ahsan Malik five for 19)bt the Netherlands 139 in 18.4 overs (Stephan Myburgh 51, Imran Tahir four for 21).

Sri Lanka 189 for four in 20 overs (Mahela Jayawardene 89, Tillakaratne Dilshan 55) lost to England 190 for four in 19.2 overs (Alex Hales 116 not out, Eoin Morgan 57, Nuwan Kulasekara four for 32).

The Netherlands 151 for four in 20 overs (Peter Borren 49, Tom Cooper 40 not out, Michael Swart 26) lost to New Zealand 152 for four in 19 overs (Brendon McCullum 65, Kane Williamson 29).

South Africa 196 for five in 20 overs (A. B. de Villiers 69 not out, Hashim Amla 56) bt England 193 for seven in 20 overs (Alex Hales 38, Jos Buttler 34, Ravi Bopara 31, Wayne Parnell three for 31).

GROUP 2:

Pakistan 191 for five in 20 overs (Umar Akmal 94, Kamran Akmal 31) bt Australia 175 in 20 overs (Glenn Maxwell 74, Aaron Finch 65).

West Indies 171 for seven in 20 overs (Dwayne Smith 72, Chris Gayle 48, Al-Amin Hossain three for 21) bt Bangladesh 98 in 19.1 overs (Samuel Badree four for 15, Krishmar Santokie three for 17).

Australia 178 for eight in 20 overs (Glenn Maxwell 45, Brad Hodge 35) lost to West Indies 179 for four in 19.4 overs (Chris Gayle 53, Darren Sammy 34 not out, Dwayne Bravo 27 not out, Lendl Simmons 26).