By Dominic Farrell
England missed out on a semi-final place in the World Twenty20 after losing a high-scoring thriller against South Africa by three runs at Chittagong.
Two days on from reeling in 190 versus Sri Lanka, Stuart Broad’s men required another record run-chase to overhaul the Proteas' 196 for five - Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers having struck superb half-centuries.
Those were feats no England batsman could match, although handy contributions throughout the order brought them agonisingly close.
A pair of mighty sixes by Tim Bresnan from Dale Steyn’s closing over ultimately could not provide the scenes of jubilation they merited.
Having been asked to bat, with dew in the Chittagong night once again a key factor for both teams to consider, the early stages of the South Africa innings were twice interrupted by faulty floodlights.
It was not enough to stop Amla illuminating matters, the opener compiling a typically stylish fifty as he made the most of a missed stumping by Jos Buttler off Moeen Ali in the third over.
In contrast to his partner scoring freely on both sides of the wicket, Quinton de Kock offered a more laboured effort, although Amla would fall first - Alex Hales holding on at wide long-on to hand Broad the breakthrough.
Buttler made no mistake off James Tredwell as de Kock ventured out of his ground and, when some sharp work from Ravi Bopara ran out JP Duminy, South Africa were wobbling on 120 for three.
That was the cue for de Villiers, leading in place of suspended Francois du Plessis, to tear into the England attack with blistering intensity - his 69 not out from 28 balls the major factor in South Africa scoring a decisive 55 runs from the final three overs.
Hales was England’s hero on Thursday courtesy of a sensational century and the Nottinghamshire man looked in the mood once more alongside county colleague Michael Lumb.
Lumb produced a remarkable shot to send Steyn over extra-cover for his second six of the match but was the first man out, to Wayne Parnell.
Recalled left-arm seamer Parnell was the Proteas' star performer and his dismissals of Hales and Moeen from consecutive balls - caught on the cover boundary and behind respectively - in the eighth over were pivotal moments.
Eoin Morgan’s designs on a rebuilding job were unseated as he feathered Imran Tahir to wicketkeeper de Kock and the leg-spinner also removed Buttler, the most likely leader of an England victory charge on 34 from 24 deliveries.
All-rounders Chris Jordan and Bopara, the latter impressing with 31 off 18 balls, perished in the deep as they launched a final assault, leaving Bresnan with just too much to do.
England skipper Stuart Broad: “We lost by three runs. First of all as a fan, what a game of cricket - nearly 400 runs scored in 40 overs. We’ve still got a game to go and we’ve got to make sure we’re fully on it against the Netherlands.”
Stand-in South Africa captain AB de Villiers, who was man of the match for his unbeaten 69 : “It was a great game. I thought the boys did extremely well. It was very tough. I knew from the start it was going to be close at the end.”
5.33pm - SOUTH AFRICA WIN BY THREE RUNS!! END OF INNINGS! England 193/7; Bresnan 17, Broad 1 - Another superb effort from England's batsmen but they were left with just too much to do on this occasion.
5.27pm - It is a long shot; here we go:
1st ball - WICKET! Bopara c Miller b Steyn 31; Eng 175/7 - Ravi looks to go big and sends the ball spiralling into the Chittagong sky. Miller holds his nerve once more.
2nd ball - Tim Bresnan takes a single down to third man.
3rd ball - A single to long-on for Stuart Broad and England now need snookers.
4th ball - SIX! Meaty pull from Bresnan. Just a no-ball or wide, if you wouldn't mind, Dale.
5th ball - Inside edge for four.
6th ball - That's three boundaries in succession as a sublime six from Bresnan ensures England fall agonisingly short.
5.25pm - Hendricks’ over ends six, wide, one, leaving Bopara on strike for the final over with 22 needed. We’ll go ball-by-ball.
5.22pm - WICKET! Jordan c de Villiers b Hendricks 16; Eng 167/6 - The ball after a fine four through the covers, Jordan clubs Hendricks down the ground and de Villiers runs around to take an excellent catch.
5.19pm - Back-to-back fours from Bopara offer a slight dent to Parnell’s magnificent figures. He ends with 3-31. The Essex man is well set on 24 from 14 and England need him to go nuclear. 34 required with two overs remaining.
5.14pm - Bopara slices a cut behind square for four as England take 10 off Steyn’s latest over. 45 from 18 is the equation.
5.09pm - Chris Jordan is the new batsman and he sends a top-edged pull off Parnell to the fence. England need 55 from the final four overs.
5.01pm - WICKET! Buttler c Morkel b Tahir 34; Eng 131/5 - England are definitely up against it now as Buttler reverse-sweeps Tahir to Morkel. The fielder suffers a dislocated finger for his troubles.
4.58pm - Buttler ends England’s lengthy wait for a boundary by lifting Hendricks over mid-off. Another straight four follows and, although the left-arm seamer appears to recover his poise with a slower-ball bouncer, Buttler welts him over his head for six to conclude the over. 69 needed from 36 balls.
4.49pm - WICKET! Morgan c de Kock b Tahir 14; Eng 105/4 - That’s an effort Ravi Bopara will immediately be part of as Morgan feathers a catch behind while trying to work Tahir through the off side.
4.48pm - Good over from Steyn, costing just six. You would expect de Villiers to withdraw him for the death now, meaning Buttler and Morgan might have to target the South African bowling sooner rather than later.
4.42pm - Following a brief break for a tidy-up of the soggy outfield, Morgan and Buttler are happy to milk Tahir for ones and twos and take seven from the 11th over.
4.36pm - At the halfway stage, England are 92 for three, requiring another 105 for victory. Fasten your seatbelt, folks.
4.28pm - South Africa were starting to look a touch rattled but that was a huge over from Parnell. Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler are the men who must regroup quickly for England. The former gets under way in fine fashion, driving Duminy over extra-cover for four.
4.23pm - WICKET! Moeen c de Kock b Parnell 10; Eng 73/3 - Moeen is strangled down the leg side playing a pull and Parnell is on a hat-trick!
4.21pm - WICKET! Hales c Miller b Parnell 38; Eng 73/2 - This could be a big moment in the match as Miller and Parnell combine again to remove England’s dangerman. It was another fine catch as the all-rounder made good ground, running around from the cover boundary.
4.19pm - Leg-spinner Imran Tahir is into the attack. The highlight of his opening over from an England point-of-view is a delicious cut by Moeen, responsible for four of the nine runs on offer.
4.15pm - Joined by Moeen Ali at the crease, Hales continues along his merry way. Back-to-back fours off Hendricks are followed by a huge pull that almost reaches the second tier of the grandstand. That’s 37 from 20 for the Nottinghamshire man and England are 62 for one at the end of the powerplay.
4.09pm - WICKET! Lumb c Miller b Parnell 18; Eng 46/1 - Lumb’s breezy cameo comes to an end as he mis-times a low full-toss from Wayne Parnell, with David Miller diving forward to take a fine catch at extra-cover.
4.04pm - CHANCE! - Hales darts from the non-striker's end in pursuit of a single that isn’t there. Lumb sends him back and Steyn - fielding from his own bowling - shies at the stumps. A direct-hit and Hales was a goner. As it is, his only concern is an ungainly tumble into the stumps upon regaining his ground. The over ends with Lumb carving Steyn emphatically over extra-cover for six more.
3.59pm - Welcome to the game, Beuran Hendricks. Michael Lumb smashes the South Africa paceman for a mighty six. AB de Villiers calls for dangerman Dale Steyn, who starts with a wide.
3.51pm - Drama in Chittagong as Hales is caught by Duminy at point but it's a no-ball from Albie Morkel. Insult acquaints itself with injury as the Nottinghamshire man slaps the free-hit through mid-off for four. Another boundary follows and England have raced to 22 for nought off two overs.
3.48pm - That man Alex Hales is at it again, striking two fours from the first over as spinner JP Duminy opens up for South Africa.
South Africa innings
3.33pm - WICKET & END OF INNINGS! A Morkel b Bresnan 3. South Africa 196/5; De Villiers 69 - Bresnan ends matters in style, yorking Albie Morkel. Earlier in the over de Villiers smashed another six, followed by a four courtesy of Moeen losing a high ball under the lights - you just can’t keep those floodlights out of the game! De Villiers was sensational during the closing stages, reaching his score from just 28 balls. For the second match in succession, England will need to complete a record chase to stay in the tournament.
3.26pm - WICKET! Miller c Moeen b Jordan 19; SA 174/4 - Miller clubs a low full-toss to Moeen at long-on - just reward for a fired up Jordan. Unfortunately the batsmen crossed and de Villiers closes out the over with a brace of fours.
3.22pm - FIFTY! De Villiers (23b 6x4 2x6) - New ball, same result. De Villiers waits on the Dernbach slower ball, giving it the treatment. With two wides, that’s 26 from the over.
3.20pm - De Villiers powers Dernbach over his head for six. Next ball he evades a beamer - the dew-sodden ball getting the better of the England paceman. Umpire Rod Tucker calls for a fresh one.
3.17pm - CHANCE! - Following back-to-back fours, Miller paddles a cross-seam delivery from Dernbach around the corner. At full stretch Buttler gets some of the ball but can’t hold on. That should really go down as an excellent stop.
3.12pm - De Villiers picks a short delivery from Broad and clouts it to the midwicket fence, ending a productive 17th over in which South Africa added 13 runs.
3.06pm - CHANCE! - New batsman David Miller cracks a leg-cutter straight back at Bresnan. The bowler cannot hold on to a sharp return catch and wears a painful blow for his troubles. In truth, it would have been a remarkable dismissal had the Yorkshireman pulled it off. De Villiers lashes the final ball of the 16th over backward point for four and the score is 128 for three.
2.58pm - WICKET! Duminy run out 5; SA 120/3 - Dear, oh dear - a comedy of errors from Duminy but England won’t mind a jot. Put under pressure by Broad’s aggressive field placings, the batsman squirts a Jordan delivery into the air on the off side. He is fortunate to see it fall short of Bopara but errs in taking a run on the throw. Bopara’s work is sharp and Buttler gathers to remove the bails. Somehow in all of this Duminy drops his bat and dives, Superman style, in a vain attempt to make his ground.
2.53pm - JP Duminy comes in alongside de Villiers, who looks in good touch, with 20 to his name from 12 deliveries. South Africa are 116 for two with six overs remaining.
2.46pm - WICKET! De Kock st Buttler b Tredwell 29; SA 98/2 - Broad decides not to continue despite his breakthrough, bringing back Tredwell, and the change proves to inspired. England’s off-spinner draws de Kock down the track, beating the outside edge for Buttler to whip off the bails.
2.44pm - AB de Villiers is South Africa’s new batsman. Bopara backs his skipper up well with a tight 12th over, costing just seven.
2.39pm - WICKET! Amla c Hales b Broad 57; SA 90/1 - Amla looks to send Broad over wide long-on but doesn’t get enough of it. Alex Hales steadies himself under the high ball and makes no mistake.
2.34pm - Ravi Bopara brings the innings to its halfway point. Amla briefly looked in trouble from the final ball of the over but his lofted shot down the ground fell safe. England haven’t let South Africa get away from them but, at 85 without loss, the Proteas can really afford to cut loose.
2.30pm - FIFTY! Amla (30b 6x4 2x6) - There it is, Amla reaches his landmark from the final ball of the ninth over - remarkably for the first time in Twenty20 internationals.
2.26pm - We’re back and Amla has not missed a beat. He whips Broad through point with wristy flourish to close in on a deserved half-century.
2.14pm - Uh oh, remember that floodlight caper from earlier? The DJ takes centre stage once more.
2.12pm - Spin is back into the attack in the form of James Tredwell. De Kock threads a late cut to the fence, puncturing a typically accomplished start from the England man. Here’s skipper Stuart Broad for over number eight…
2.08pm - Chris Jordan’s opening over costs 10 and heralds a fifty partnership. South Africa will be pleased with 52 from the batting powerplay.
2.01pm - Tim Bresnan comes into the attack and Amla looks to recreate his earlier pulled six off Dernbach. The delivery hurries him and England go up when the ball loops through to Buttler, but the deflection came off the batman’s pad. A straight four follows and South Africa are 42 without loss after five overs. Amla has 31 of those, with Quinton de Kock struggling to break the field.
1.53pm - MISSED CHANCE! - The delivery after working Moeen through cover point for four more, Amla is beaten all ends up as the bowler finds a perfect response. Unfortunately, Jos Buttler fails to gather and a relatively straightforward stumping chance goes begging. To rub salt into the wounds, Amla launches the next ball over wide long-on for his second maximum.
1.48pm - The lights are flickering back into action and we’ll be back under way soon. South Africa will resume on 17 without loss, with two deliveries of the second over from Dernbach remaining.
1.44pm - We have two lighting towers out and the umpires have taken the players off the field. The stadium DJ is still going great guns. Perhaps they can tap into his power supply?
1.39pm - A gorgeous shot from Amla, who dispatches Jade Dernbach backward of square for a leg-side six. Dernbach is too straight and that’s four more. Oh, hang on, the floodlights have gone off - that’s one way of checking Amla’s early momentum!
1.33pm - Hashim Amla displays some early jitters in contemplating a dicey single off the first ball but the South Africa opener is soon into his stride with an off-side boundary.
1.30pm - The anthems are done and it looks like Moeen Ali will open the bowling for England with his off-spin. Jos Buttler has his helmet on.
1.12pm - South Africa are without captain Francois du Plessis, who serves a one-match ban due to a slow over-rate against Netherlands. AB de Villiers will skipper the Proteas and Farhaan Behardian takes du Plessis’ place in the side. Wayne Parnell gets the nod over Lonwabo Tsotsobe in their other change.
— England Cricket (@ECB_cricket) March 29, 2014
1.03pm - ENGLAND WIN TOSS & BOWL. As on Thursday, the coin falls in Broad's favour. Dew is once again set to be a factor so that should be a big toss to win
12.45pm - New Zealand join Sri Lanka on four points and the group’s top two teams face each other in the final match, meaning six points will be required to join the winner of that game in the semis. South Africa close their round-robin campaign today and would reach that mark with victory. If England triumph over the Proteas and Netherlands next week, they will be in the final four. Clear as mud!
New Zealand win by 6 wickets so England will have to beat South Africa to stay in the tournament #wt20
— BBC TMS (@bbctms) March 29, 2014
12.38pm - But, of course, England enter this do-or-die clash in fine fettle. Alex Hales’ magnificent century inspired a sensational run-chase against Sri Lanka. Having seen off the world number-one ranked team with such aplomb, confidence should be high.
12.34pm - Netherlands have been doing their best to muddy those waters this morning, but New Zealand are almost home in the early Group One match. Chasing 152, they need seven to win from the final two overs with six wickets in hand. If the Black Caps win, England must.
12.30pm - Hello and welcome to our coverage of the crunch World Twenty20 clash between England and South Africa. There are various, improbable equations Stuart Broad’s men can concern themselves with, but defeat means a flight home before the semi-finals. The stakes are high in Chittagong.
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