T20 World Cup Top Moments: England embraced ‘freedom’ to complete a record chase against SA – Firstcricket News, Firstpost

England reached the final of the 2016 T20 World Cup and if not for the Carlos Brathwaite madness in the final over, they could’ve been the champions. They were not the firm favourites to win the trophy but they went deep into the tournament thanks to their ability to deliver as a team.

It was 2016 and England were going through a big transformation under the leadership of Eoin Morgan. The captain and the team management pushed hard to make this team into a fearsome batting unit and the match against South Africa on 18 March 2016 showed the level they can reach if they embraced the ‘freedom’.

England had lost their opening match of the T20 World Cup against West Indies after Chris Gayle smashed their bowlers all over the park to complete his century. The next match in the Super 10 stage was against South Africa. Two defeats for Morgan and his side would dash all hopes of making it to the semi-final. So, in other words, this was a must-win game.

South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis lost the toss and was told to bat first on a belter of a Wankhede track. The Proteas got off to a superb start with openers Quinton de Kock (58 runs in 31 balls) and Hashim Amla (52 in 24 balls) scoring half-centuries. AB de Villiers and du Plessis didn’t make much of an impact but JP Duminy (54 not out) and David Miller (28 off 12) ensured their team put up a big total on board.

The 19th and the 20th overs went for 18 runs each as South Africa thought 229/4 would be a par total even on a good batting pitch.

England began the chase on a furious note, scoring the 50-run mark inside three overs. Jason Roy, Alex Hales and Ben Stokes all scored runs quickly but didn’t last long enough. Roy scored 43 in 16 balls which included five fours and three sixes. When Skipper Morgan departed cheaply, England were four down but they had made 111 runs in 9.4 overs.

Joe Root and Jos Buttler made sure to keep the required run-rate in check. While Root went on to hammer the bowlers and cross the 50-run mark, Buttler was out for 21. When Root fell for 83, the task ahead for England was 11 from 10 balls.

Two more boundaries followed and the equation came down to just one from the last over. Job almost done.

Kyle Abbott bowled the final over. Chris Jordan was out first ball and then David Willey was run out. A dot ball against Moeen Ali and things became awkward for England. But there was no twist in the tale as Ali found the run in the next ball and England completed a record chase with two balls and two wickets to spare.

“Honestly, I felt we would have to play out of our skin to chase them. But there’s a lot of talent in our team if we play with freedom. It’s been going for just under a year now, we’ve had some big chases,” Morgan said after the match.

The change which they were striving hard to achieve, the freedom which Morgan spoke about didn’t give them the World Cup trophy in 2016 but three years later, the captain lifted the ODI World Cup trophy at the Lord’s. England’s first in the ODI format.

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