crunch encounter

SOUTH Africa's loss to England on Saturday at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, by 39 runs makes today's clash with Pakistan vital to the side making the semifinals of the ICC World Twenty20.

SOUTH Africa's loss to England on Saturday at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, by 39 runs makes today's clash with Pakistan vital to the side making the semifinals of the ICC World Twenty20.

After a comfortable 13 run victory over New Zealand on Thursday night, it appeared the Proteas had found their winning formula.

The side looked confident and composed against the Kiwi's and the fine fielding display by Herschelle Gibbs boosted those around him.

"Herschelle was at his instinctive best during that match," Proteas coach Corrie van Zyl told Sowetan from the teams base in Barbados shortly after the game.

"His dismissal of Brendan McCullum was one of the turning points in the game because he is one of the most dangerous T20 players in the world," van Zyl said.

Against England South Africa desperately missed a second spinner to back up Johan Botha.

With the track turning a mile Botha proved a handful for the England batsmen and returned the impressive figures of just 15 runs off his four overs. while picking up two impressive wickets.

England opener Michael Lumb was the first of Botha's victims, who fell for just 3 runs.

The prize wicket though, was that of Kevin Pietersen who contributed an impressive 53 off just 33 balls.

Pietersen likes nothing better than a big score against his former homeland, and the juicy batting track provided him with the ideal opportunity.

He peppered the boundary in all directions with his composed knock before Smith held on to a sharp chance at deep backward point off the bowling of Botha.

Chasing an England total of 169 to win, South Africa would have felt they were in with a shout but the England bowlers gave them nothing to play with.

Between Graham Swann and Michael Yardy, they were all over the Proteas and strangled the life out of them with a disciplined display of spin bowling.

Kallis was the first to fall with a 'slowish' 11 from 13 balls. What followed was a procession of disappointment.

Gibbs (8), Smith (19), Albie Morkel(0), AB de Villiers (5), Mark Boucher (9), JP Duminy (39), Johan Botha (12), Dale Steyn (5) and Charl Langeveldt (2) is how the scorecard read. Had it not been for Duminy's knock the score would not even have been respectable.

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