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De kock’s innings was the difference of the game, says Jos Buttler

Gros Islet (St Lucia): In a thrilling encounter at the Daren Sammy Stadium in St Lucia, South Africa extended their winning streak at the T20 World Cup 2024 to six games with a narrow seven-run victory over England.

The match was defined by Quinton de Kock’s explosive innings of 65 from 38 balls, which England captain Jos Buttler later described as “probably the difference” between the two sides.

De Kock’s rapid-fire 22-ball half-century, punctuated by four sixes, set the tone for South Africa’s innings. His aggressive play in the powerplay saw South Africa reach 63 without loss, a foundation that allowed them to post a competitive total of 163 for 6 on a pitch that played slower than anticipated.

Reflecting on the game, Buttler pinpointed the powerplay as the pivotal phase where England lost the match. “Quinton de Kock came out with a lot of intensity in that powerplay, and we couldn’t quite match that,” Buttler said after the game.

“I think we were probably 20 behind them after six overs. The wicket slowed up and we brought it back really well, we were quite happy chasing 160 [164]. But yeah, they bowled well in the powerplay and Quinton de Kock’s innings was probably the difference.”

England’s chase started shakily, with Phil Salt falling early and Jonny Bairstow following soon after. When Buttler was dismissed for a laborious 17 off 20 balls, and Moeen Ali holed out two overs later, England found themselves at 61 for 4, needing 103 runs from the remaining 9.4 overs.

However, a spirited 78-run partnership off 42 balls between Harry Brook and Liam Livingstone reignited England’s hopes. The duo’s onslaught, including taking 21 runs off Ottneil Baartman’s 17th over, brought the equation down to 25 runs needed from the last three overs.

Despite their efforts, South Africa’s pace attack held their nerve. Kagiso Rabada, Marco Jansen, and Anrich Nortje bowled brilliantly in the death overs to secure the win for South Africa.

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