MUMBAI (Reuters) - England’s Joe Root hit a sparkling 83 to lead them to the highest-ever run chase in World Twenty20 cricket and a dramatic two-wicket victory over South Africa in Group One on Friday.
England laboured in the field as South Africa racked up a huge total of 229-4 but an explosive knock by opener Jason Roy gave them momentum and Root struck six fours and four sixes to kick-start their campaign after an opening loss to West Indies.
Roy smashed 43 off 16 balls and Root led England to their highest ever Twenty20 total, with another gem of an innings from the 25-year-old.
“The fact that we can pull off performances like that with the bat will give us a lot of confidence for the rest of this group stage and hopefully further on in the tournament,” Root, still wearing his pads, told reporters.
“There is no better feeling than winning a game when you are up against it. I can’t wait to get back in the dressing room and celebrate with the rest of the boys.”
South Africa, one of the favourites for the tournament, raced to 96-0 after seven overs as Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock made quickfire fifties in an explosive opening stand.
De Kock, who thrashed David Willey for 20 in the third over, hit seven fours and three sixes during his 24-ball knock before he fell to off-spinner Moeen Ali.
Amla, who was dropped on nine by Reece Topley off Ali, hit the same number of boundaries before falling to the off-spinner.
JP Duminy (54 not out) and David Miller (28 not out) provided the finishing touches for South Africa with an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 60.
Roy and Alex Hales gave England, the 2010 champions, a rollicking start, plundering 48 runs from 15 deliveries before both fell to paceman Kyle Abbott.
England looked to maintain their tempo but leg-spinner Imran Tahir pegged them back with 1-28 in his four overs.
Root, however, was imperious in his 44-ball knock and added 75 for the fifth wicket with Jos Buttler (21), bringing the sizeable crowd to their feet.
England needed one run to win from the final over but lost the wickets of Jordan and Willey before Moeen struck the winning run with two balls to spare.
South Africa, who have never won a major global one-day tournament, play on Sunday against Afghanistan who are also England’s next opponents on Wednesday.
Editing by Pritha Sarkar and Ken Ferris