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It’s not very often you can say that a 229 run defeat flattered the losing team but it is certainly fair to state this here as the 2019 Cricket World Cup champions England were obliterated by South Africa at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.
It is now three defeats from four games for England and their hold on the trophy is looking weaker by the game although there is still a route to a top four spot if they can find some confidence and ability again. For South Africa, they bounced back immediately from their defeat against the Netherlands and there can be no doubt that that was a minor blip for the Proteas.
Jos Buttler won the toss before the game and asked South Africa to bat first. There were three changes to the England side who were determined to get back to winning ways after their embarrassing defeat to Afghanistan last Sunday. Buttler was joined at the toss by Aiden Markram for South Africa with the usual skipper Temba Bavuma ruled out through injury.
Reeza Hendricks came into the South African side at the top of the order with Gus Atkinson, David Willey and Ben Stokes coming in for Liam Livingstone, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran for England.
It looked like being a great day ahead for England when Quinton de Kock was given out caught behind on review to the second ball of the day to Reece Topley and South Africa were restricted to 18-1 at the end of the sixth over. But Topley damaged the tip of his finger whilst trying to field in his follow through during the next over and England never recovered. The runs started flowing and in increasingly hot and humid conditions, England’s bowlers and South Africa’s batters started to sweat, cramp and require treatment.
But it was South Africa’s batters who were able to stand tall in the conditions with Reeza Hendricks (109 from 67), Rassie van der Dussen (60 runs from 61 balls), Heinrich Klaasen (109 runs from 67 balls) and Marco Jansen (75 not out from 42 balls) taking them to 399-7.
Chasing an improbable 400 to win, England lost Jonny Bairstow in the third over and never recovered with Joe Root, Dawid Malan, Jos Buttler and Harry Brook all dismissed before the end of the 12th. In the end, only some lusty eighth wicket hitting from Mark Wood and Gus Atkinson kept the result beneath a 250 run margin but when that partnership was broken and Reece Topley did not appear, the game was done.
A massive win for South Africa with England looking less like potential World Champions with every game.
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