• Thursday, July 18, 2024

CRICKET

England and South Africa triumph in T20 WC Super Eight clashes

Salt’s 87 not out off 47 balls, which included seven fours and five sixes, powered England to chase down the West Indies’ total of 180-4, finishing at 181-2 in 17.3 overs.

Player of the Match Salt effectively sealed the victory in the 16th over, hammering 30 runs off Romario Shepherd with three sixes and three fours. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Phil Salt’s unbeaten 87 and Quinton de Kock’s blistering half-century led England and South Africa to victories in their respective T20 World Cup Super Eight matches on Wednesday.

In St Lucia, defending champions England defeated the West Indies by eight wickets. Salt’s 87 not out off 47 balls, which included seven fours and five sixes, powered England to chase down the West Indies’ total of 180-4, finishing at 181-2 in 17.3 overs. Jonny Bairstow also made a significant contribution with an unbeaten 48.

Player of the Match Salt effectively sealed the victory in the 16th over, hammering 30 runs off Romario Shepherd with three sixes and three fours. “We’re not looking too far ahead, just glad to contribute to the win,” Salt said after his match-winning performance. He praised Bairstow for taking the pressure off him by maintaining a steady flow of runs. “Jonny was fantastic and took pressure off me by taking calculated risks. I couldn’t be happier as a teammate,” Salt added.

England’s other runs came from skipper Jos Buttler, who scored 25, and Moeen Ali, who added a brisk 13. This victory marked an emphatic return to form for England, who had struggled in the first round group phase and faced the risk of early elimination.

West Indies skipper Rovman Powell lamented his team’s bowling performance. “We needed a better display as a bowling group,” he said. “We are generally good in the last five overs. The execution wasn’t good. Credit to Salt, he always hurts us.”

Earlier, a disciplined English bowling performance restricted the West Indies to 180-4. The West Indies made a smooth start with openers Johnson Charles and Brandon King. Despite King retiring hurt for 23 in the fifth over, the runs continued to flow. Charles formed a handy partnership with Nicholas Pooran, with the West Indies reaching 82-0 at the halfway stage.

However, England’s spinner Moeen Ali made the breakthrough, catching Charles in the deep for 38 off 34 balls in the 12th over. Powell looked set to boost the total with a quickfire 36 off 17 deliveries, including five sixes. But Liam Livingstone’s bowling dismissed Powell, caught by Mark Wood at short third man. Pooran fell soon after, caught behind by Buttler off Jofra Archer, leaving the Windies wobbling at 141-3. Andre Russell was out for one off Adil Rashid, and an unbeaten 28 from Sherfane Rutherford helped the West Indies reach a more competitive total.

In the other match, South Africa secured an 18-run victory over the United States at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. The Proteas scored 194-4 after being put in to bat, with De Kock hitting 74 off 40 balls, including seven fours and five sixes. “We’ve had some tricky wickets, so it was nice to spend some time in the middle today. The USA put us under pressure towards the end. It was a great game,” De Kock said after his best performance of the tournament.

South Africa’s skipper Aiden Markram also made a significant contribution, scoring 46 from 32 balls with four boundaries and a six. Markram and De Kock put on a 110-run partnership for the second wicket, reaching 101-1 off the first 10 overs. Heinrich Klaasen and Tristan Stubbs added an unbeaten 53-run partnership for the fifth wicket, with Klaasen scoring 36 not out and Stubbs 20 not out.

USA captain Aaron Jones admitted it was a tough result to take. “We did lack discipline in the bowling at times. Once we play good cricket, we can beat any team in the world. But we need to be a lot more disciplined,” he said.

The USA made a bright start to their reply, reaching 50 in the first five overs. However, they struggled to maintain momentum against the Proteas’ pace-spin attack. Kagiso Rabada removed Steven Taylor for 24 and Nitish Kumar for eight. American hopes suffered a major blow when Jones, who had scored an unbeaten 94 in their win over Canada, was out without scoring, edging spinner Keshav Maharaj to De Kock.

Former New Zealand international Corey Anderson scored a quick 12 before being bowled by Anrich Nortje. The USA limped to 73-4 off the first 10 overs before Andries Gous and Harmeet Singh reignited their hopes. Gous scored an unbeaten 80 off 47 balls, with five fours and five sixes, while Harmeet added 38 off 22 balls. Gous smashed leg-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi for three sixes in the 18th over, leaving the USA needing 28 off 12 balls. Rabada’s tight 19th over conceded just two runs and dismissed Harmeet, finishing with figures of 3-18. Shamsi went for 50 runs off his four overs.

These results place England and South Africa in strong positions in their respective groups in the Super Eights stage, with both teams demonstrating depth and resilience in their performances.

(AFP)

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