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De Villiers Charge Puts South Africa Into The Semis

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers struck a brilliant half-century as South Africa beat England by three runs
©REUTERS / Action Images

South Africa 196-5 (de Villiers 69no) beat
England 193-7 (Parnell 3-31) by three runs
ICC World Twenty20 2014 Group One, Chittagong

South Africa qualified for the semi-finals of the ICC World Twenty20 by beating England by the slender margin of three runs in Group One in Chittagong.

Excellent half-centuries from Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers set up a score of 196 for five before England closed on 193 for seven in reply.

However, the margin of victory slightly flattered England, who were unable to match South Africa's late acceleration, which saw 55 runs come from the final three overs of their innings.

Coverage in association with Clarus XC

De Villiers was outstanding, hitting 69 not out in 28 balls, before England were unable to build on the fast start given to them by Alex Hales, who made 38 in 22 balls.

The result means that South Africa will qualify for the semi-finals along with the winners of the final Group One match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

England's game against the Netherlands beforehand will be a dead rubber as neither side can progress.

De Villiers was captaining South Africa in place of the suspended Faf du Plessis, and he led by example, both with the bat, and in the field, where he marshalled his team effectively and took a good catch to see off Chris Jordan late on.

First though, Hashim Amla made a classy maiden Twenty20 International half-century with six fours and four sixes, taking full advantage of a missed stumping by Jos Buttler in the third over.

He went on to make 56 in 37 balls before he did fall, caught by Hales off Stuart Broad while Buttler made some amends by stumping Quinton de Kock for 29 off James Tredwell.

England were once again sloppy in the field but good work by Ravi Bopara ran out JP Duminy for five after the batsman had not helped his cause by dropping his bat trying to make a second run.

Although England were able to keep David Miller (19) quiet by bowling predominantly short of a length, little could be done about de VIlliers, who produced an innings of audacity and invention.

Nine fours and three sixes came from his bat as England leaked runs badly at the end of the innings with those 55 in the final three (including 26 from the 18th, bowled by Jade Dernbach), eventually proving enough to separate the two sides.

Nevertheless, England got off to a flyer with Hales in supreme touch hitting 38 in 22 deliveries. with six fours and one six. Like Amla, he made the most of some luck having been caught off a no ball bowled by Albie Morkel.

Replays confirmed it was actually a legitimate delivery and shouldn't have been called - as Hales had missed the initial call, he was almost run out amid the confusion.

Michael Lumb (18) got off the mark with a six before falling to Parnell, who would pick up figures of three for 31.

The left-arm quick, brought in to the side in place of Lonwabo Tsotsobe, struck twice in two balls to have Hales caught by Miller and Moeen Ali (10) caught behind by de Kock as England slowly started to lose ground after scoring at more than 10 runs per over during the powerplay.

Eoin Morgan made 14 in 14 balls, unable to find the boundary more than once, leaving Jos Buttler and Bopara with plenty of work to do once England were reduced to 105 for four with his departure off Imran Tahir in the 13th over.

A couple of boundaries from Buttler in the 14th over gave England hope but he fell, reverse sweeping Tahir to Morkel, who held on to the catch despite the impact dislocating a finger.

Buttler had hit 34 in 24 balls and although Jordan made 16 in 14 and Bopara 31 in 18, their efforts were in vain, coming too late to change the course of the match as South Africa bowled smartly and cut off almost everything in the field.

Bopara was left needing to hit 22 off Dale Steyn (1-44) to win and was caught by Miller off the first ball of the final over.

A single apiece for Bresnan and Broad left England needing 20 from three balls to win and although Bresnan hit six, four, and then six again, those lusty blows proved academic, and England could go no further.

© Cricket World 2014