Cape Town - A remarkable run-chase ensured that England defeated the Proteas by two-wickets in a thrilling ICC World Twenty20 clash at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday.
A dramatic finish saw England win with two balls left in a crazy batting shoot-out.
Having lost their first game to the West Indies, England found themselves in an all or nothing situation when they went out to bat in pursuit of South Africa’s total of 229/4, which at the half-way point looked to be more than enough.
England’s reply of 230/8 has kept them in the tournament, while the Proteas will have to ask themselves some hard questions after their wayward bowling display.
It was an evening on which the bowlers on both sides faced an unenviable task and they were not helped by the chances that went astray in the field.
Nevertheless there was some superb batting on both sides with Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla setting the Proteas up with a total of 83 in the six power-play overs.
However, England were more than equal to the task with their power-play total of 89.
De Kock matched AB de Villiers performance at the Wanderers against England in reaching his 50 off 21 balls while Amla needed only an extra four deliveries for his half-century. Both players hit three sixes and seven fours.
But England did even better with Jason Roy and Alex Hales doing most of the work in taking England to 50 in less than three overs.
England lost wickets at a faster rate than South Africa but they also scored quicker and they went into the last five overs needing to score only 47 runs. In contrast the Proteas had scored 63 in their last five overs.
They lost Jos Buttler during this period after a partnership of 75 in only six overs.
Joe Root almost completed the job for England in partnership with Moeen Ali with England needing less than a run a ball in their last two overs.
However, Kagiso Rabada got rid of Root in the 19th over (83 off 44 balls, 6 fours and 4 sixes) to give the Proteas a last chance.
England then lost Chris Jordan with the scores tied in the last over and in a chaotic finish David Willey was run out next ball before Ali got England over the line with two balls and two wickets in hand.
In defeat the Proteas will rue the 20 runs they conceded in wides although they do have the positive of getting JP Duminy somewhere near his best with his innings of 54 not out off 28 balls (3 fours and 3 sixes) as well as some tidy bowling that brought him a wicket.
The Proteas play their second match against Afghanistan at the same venue on Sunday.