Root leads Eng­land to stun­ning vic­tory

The Herald - Herald Sport - - GOLF, CRICKET - RORY DOL­LARD

JOE ROOT re­fused to get car­ried away de­spite guid­ing Eng­land to one of the most mem­o­rable run chases in Twenty20 his­tory.

A stun­ning knock of 83 took Eng­land to a re­mark­able two-wicket win over South Africa as they chased down 230 to record the high­est run chase of all time in World T20 matches.

On a manic night in which bowlers were lambs to the slaugh­ter, Root kept his cool with a stun­ning ex­am­ple of short-form bats­man­ship, hit­ting four sixes and six fours in a de­ci­sive 44-ball stay.

Eng­land sur­vived a last-over wob­ble to claim a re­mark­able vic­tory with two balls re­main­ing, Moeen Ali punch­ing the win­ning sin­gle.

Only the West Indies, who made 236 against the same op­po­nents last year, have ever scored more to win an in­ter­na­tional and Eng­land’s mark has never been bet­tered in do­mes­tic T20s.

Af­ter los­ing their open­ing game against West Indies, Eng­land risked an­other early exit from a world tour­na­ment un­til Root’s mas­ter­class cap­i­talised on good work from open­ers Ja­son Roy and Alex Hales be­fore Ali hit the win­ning runs with two balls to spare.

The York­shire bats­man was quick to pay trib­ute to his team­mates af­ter they set the plat­form for him, telling Sky Sports 2: “Af­ter the start we got – the guys up front were out­stand­ing – it made mine and the other guys’ job a lot eas­ier.

“It put them (South Africa) straight un­der pres­sure and put us ahead of the game. It sets us up nicely now for the rest of the group stages.”

He added on his in­nings: “It was about not get­ting greedy and try­ing to get 20 an over, just be­ing sen­si­ble and play­ing some smart cricket, build some part­ner­ships and take it re­ally deep.”

Cap­tain Eoin Mor­gan said: “I felt we’d have had to play out of our skin to chase it down and we did just that.

“We have a lot of tal­ent within our group and the best way for us to play is the way we did tonight.”

South Africa’s Faf du Plessis said: “We’ve all played this game long enough to know no game is un­chaseable.”

ROOT: In im­pe­ri­ous form for Eng­land

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