New Delhi: Prodigious Joe Root scored 83 off 44 deliveries as England chased down a target of 230 to shocked favourites South Africa by two wickets in a run-feats in their 2016 ICC World Twenty20 group match in Mumbai on Friday.
The 25-year-old played an exceptional innings of pure class as he hit six fours and four sixes even as England almost choked in the last over. Needing a single to win the Super 10 Group 1 match against the Proteas, England lost two wickets of the first two deliveries of the final over.
But Moeen Ali took a single in the fourth delivery, bowled by Kyle Abbott, to give England their first win of the tournament. England lost to the West Indies in their opener on Wednesday with Chris Gayle hitting a whirlwind century.
Today's chase was the highest ever in the history of the tournament, with the previous highest had been from the South Africans themselves, hitting 208/2 in response to the West Indies’ 205/6 at the 2007 competition.
It was England`s highest ever total in 20-over cricket and also the second highest successful run chase by any team in the history of the shortest format of the game.
Earlier in the innings, openers Jason Roy (43 off 16) and Alex Hales (17 off 7) had given the Three Lions a perfect platform to achieve such a feat. Despite losing wickets in quick intervals, England continued to playing extravagant strokes.
In fact, they recorded the fastest ever team fifty, off just off just 17 deliveries.
For South Africa, it was tough outing as their pace battery of Kagiso Rabada (2/50) and Dale Steyn (0/35 from 2 overs) failed to make impacts. The introduction of spinners in Imran Tahir (1/28) and Jean-Paul Duminy (1/31 from 3 overs) did stalled the chase for sometime, but Root's brilliance meant that their efforts were not enough.
Kyle Abbott was however the pick of the bowling attack, taking three wickets from his 3.4 overs. Entrusted to bowl the last over, with England needing a single to win the match, the 28-year-old pace bowler took the wicket of Chris Jordan first, then forced a run-out of David Willey. It was indeed a Allan Donald, that infamous run out against Australia in the 1999 World Cup semifinal at Edgbaston, England.
After winning the toss, England skipper Eoin Morgan put South Africa to bat first at the Wankhede Stadium.
Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla then posted 96-run opening stand inside the eighth over to give the Proteas a brilliant platform. However, England managed to pull back in the middle overs, taking important wickets of AB de Villiers and skipper Faf du Plessis.
But JP Duminy played a blinder (54 runs off 28) to help South African cross the 200-run mark. Hard-hitting David Miller gave the finishing touches (28 off 12) to make a huge total of 229 runs.
English bowling attack was led by Ali, who took two wickets conceding 34 runs. David Willey (1/40) and Adil Rashid (1/35) took a wicket each.
After the win, England are now in third spot with two points from two matches.
South Africa will play their second match of the tournament against minnows Afghanistan on Sunday at the same venue.
England will also play Afghanistan in their next match at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi on March 23.