Root drives England to highest WT20 chase

Joe Root's 44-ball 83 helped England record the highest chase in World Twenty20, thereby beating South Africa by two wickets. The English side overhauled the Proteas' 229 with just two balls to spare after a thrilling final over bowled by Kyle Abbott.

Joe Root steered the England chase with an attacking half-century.   -  Vivek Bendre

Hashim Amla scored a flurry of boundaires in the first ten overs in South Africa's innings.   -  AP

When Eoin Morgan put South Africa in to bat after the toss, there was a loud roar from the stands at the Wankhede Stadium. While the Mumbaikars were thrilled to see >AB de Villers in action early in the evening, Morgan’s decision to field first appeared to be a brave decision.

At the halfway stage, with South Africa piling on 229 for four, the second highest total in World Twenty20 history, Morgan’s decision was billed as good as suicidal. However, before the floodlights were turned off, Morgan and Co had vindicated their strategy of chasing the total comfortably to keep their WT20 campaign alive.

>Scorecard and ball-by-ball update





A chase of 230 requires a team to not only start and finish strongly but continue to pile on the runs even in the middle overs of a 20-over innings. And England ticked off all the boxes with such ease. That England’s run rate was better than the asking rate of 11.5 runs an over right through its innings speaks about the finesse with which it planned and executed the mammoth chase.

The only blemish for England was the nerves it showed in the dying moments. With one run required off the last over, Chris Jordan tried to end the match in style but could only manage to find Jean-Paul Duminy at deep midwicket to hand Kyle Abbott his third wicket. David Willey committed hara-kiri off the next ball, resulting in an unnecessary run-out. But Moeen Ali kept his calm and hit the ball over the 30-yard circle to seal a famous win and let a handful of faithful supporters burst into a gig.

 

Jason Roy and Alex Hales (dropped off the first ball he faced at short fine-leg by Kyle Abbott off Dale Steyn), gave England the blitzkrieg opening. And the middle order then played around >Joe Root to ensure England kept pace with the scoring rate without much trouble. It was aided with some ordinary bowling by South Africa's pacemen.

Read Morgan's post-match >comments

Root doesn’t look burly as a power-hitter neither is his strokeplay audacious. But the stylish batsman showcased a combination of traditional strokeplay and improvisation before holing out deep on the leg side when the equation had been reduced to run-a-ball. The highlight of his match-winning knock turned out to be the reverse scoop off Chris Morris that sailed over third-man boundary for a six.

Root’s silken touch eventually ended up overshadowing the powerplay of South Africa batsmen. The opening combination of Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla scored just two runs off David Willey’s opening over. But ever since Reece Topley’s first ball of the next over was sent by the left-handed de Kock over point, it started an onslaught that lasted for the next half hour. At the end of the Powerplay, South Africa openers had amassed 83 runs, 76 of which came through bounadaries (13 fours and four sixes).

Despite Faf du Plessis being unable to get going, Duminy’s quickfire fifty, third of the innings, and David Miller’s straight hitting meant South Africa set a sizeable total.