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Buttler positive on England’s chances in T20 World Cup

South Africa play hosts West Indies in their last Super Eight match on Sunday (23), while England face the United States.

England’s Mark Wood (R) celebrates with captain Jos Buttler and teammates after running out South Africa’s Heinrich Klaasen at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, on June 21, 2024. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

THE 78-run partnership between Harry Brook and Liam Livingstone may prove to be crucial for England’s semi-final hopes even though it fell just short of getting them a victory over South Africa in the T20 World Cup on Friday (21), captain Jos Buttler said.

Brook and Livingstone’s fifth-wicket stand helped the defending champions get within seven runs of the target, creating a clearer path to semis despite hosts West Indies pulling ahead in the group with a dominant nine-wicket win over the US.

“I think Brook and Livingstone had a fantastic partnership on a slow wicket where other guys struggled,” Buttler told reporters in Gros Islet. “The big picture is obviously net run rate.”

West Indies, tied with England on two points, rose to second place in Group Two thanks to a superior net run rate of 1.814. Third-placed England have a net run rate of 0.412, close to leaders South Africa (0.625) who have four points.

This makes it easier for England to overtake South Africa’s net run rate with a win over the US on Sunday (23), if the leaders lose to West Indies. If South Africa win, England would ensure second place outright with four points.

South Africa, who have won all six matches in the tournament, now face a potential do-or-die scenario where a loss to West Indies may leave them out of the top two and a place in the semis.

South Africa’s Quinton de Kock got a second straight fifty while Anrich Nortje bowled a tight final over to help their side edge England by seven runs on Friday.

Put in to bat first, openers De Kock (65 off 38) and Reeza Hendricks (19) got South Africa off to a good start, scoring 63 runs in the powerplay as an in-form De Kock reached a half-century in just 22 balls, his second fifty in row.

“I’ve played a few (Caribbean Premier League) games here,” player of the match De Kock said, crediting his league experience for his knowledge of the playing conditions at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground.

But South Africa added only 29 runs in the next six overs with both openers falling to Moeen Ali (1-25) and Jofra Archer (3-40), while Adil Rashid (1-20) kept a tight lid on the scoreboard.

However, David Miller (43 off 28) stepped up under pressure to get the runs flowing again, helping South Africa get to a competitive 163-6.

As England began their chase, Kagiso Rabada (2-32) dismissed Phil Salt (11) early on before Keshav Maharaj (2-25) got the better of Jonny Bairstow (16) and Jos Buttler (17), leaving the champions looking shaky at 61-4 in the 11th over.

But Harry Brook (53 off 37) and Liam Livingstone (33 off 17) stabilised their innings, and with 77 needed from the last six overs, they went for the big hits, scoring 54 runs from the next three overs until Livingstone fell to Rabada.

England needed 14 from the last over, but Nortje (1-35) got Brook out on the first ball and allowed only six runs, restricting England to 156-6.

(Reuters)

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