Joe Root produced a stunning batting display to help England defeat South Africa by two wickets and claim their first victory at the ICC World Twenty20 in India today.
Root led the way, hitting 83 runs off 44 balls, as England chased down a target of 230 to register the highest successful run-chase in World Twenty20 history.
South Africa had ended their innings on a commanding 229-4, with Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla and JP Duminy making half centuries.
However, their efforts were in vain as Root inspired England to a sensational victory, which keeps them in the hunt for a semi-final place.
England captain Eoin Morgan won the toss and elected to field, but the decision backfired as South Africa’s openers smashed the ball all over Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium ground in the opening overs.
De Kock reached his 50 off just 21 balls thanks to seven fours and three sixes that included a beautiful array of shot-making.
Morgan experimented with six different bowlers in the first seven overs as De Kock and Amla made easy work of David Willey and Reece Topley, among others, to reach 96-0.
England finally made a breakthrough in the eighth over when De Kock (52) was caught deep by Hales off the bowling from spinner Moeen Ali.
AB de Villiers came in and made a quick-fire 16 as South Africa reached 100 in just eight overs before he was caught by Morgan off Rashid in the ninth over.
The two quick wickets helped to stem the South African tide momentarily and gave England a brief moment of hope; however South Africa’s batting strength in depth shone through.
Amla (58) made the most of being dropped by Topley in the fourth by reaching his half-century, but was soon out lbw by Ali in the 12th.
Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis came in at No 4 and made 17 while Duminy expertly took over where de Kock and Amla had left off.
The left-hander, batting at No 5, scored a composed 54 that included three sixes and three fours.
England’s fielding was lacklustre as South Africa finished on 229-4, leaving the English batsmen with an uphill task.
Jason Roy struck four boundaries during the opening over as England set about their task in commanding fashion and were helped along the way by five wides from Kagiso Rabada.
Hales made 17 off seven balls before falling lbw to Kyle Abbott and Roy (43) was next to go when he was caught by De Kock off an Abbot delivery with England on 71-2.
Ben Stokes made 15 off nine balls and initially raised hope that England could continue their blistering start, but his innings came to an end when he was caught in the deep by Chris Morris off Rabada’s delivery.
Morgan, along with Root, helped England reach 100 in the eighth over, but his innings was brought to an end when he was bowled by Duminy after contributing just 12 runs off 15 deliveries.
Root reached his stylish 50 off 29 balls by hitting Morris for six and left England needing just 47 runs from 30 balls the claim victory.
England lost Jos Buttler (21) after he was stumped by De Kock, but Root remained resolute at the crease, firing two boundaries at the beginning of the 17th over to keep England on course.
Root’s resolve was finally broken in the 18th over when he was caught in the deep by Miller off a full toss delivery from Rabada.
Late dismissals of Chris Jordan and Willey threatened to derail England’s charge towards victory, but Ali was on hand to score the winning run with three balls remaining.