England captain Eoin Morgan said the message to his players after South Africa set them an imposing 230-run target was to play out of their skin, which saw them pull off a sensational two-wicket win in the ICC T20 World cup 2016.
Required to score at almost 12 runs an over, England turned the chase on its head with Man of the Match Joe Root (83) leading the way and helping his side to a victory with two balls to spare.
“Honestly, I felt we would have felt to play out of our skin to chase them, play our best cricket. 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. But to get a start like that, Roy and Hales were outstanding. We’ll take a lot of confidence,” Morgan said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Test specialist Root, the no. 2 ranked player in the world in the longest form of the game, threw caution to the wind during his whirlwind 44-ball knock studded with four sixes and six fours.
England kept their hopes alive after being mauled by the Chris Gayle-powered West Indies in their tournament opener.
“We came a little unstuck against Gayle, but tonight we finished well with the ball - it was just the first six overs. Batsmen are finding different ways of scoring.”
South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis felt they conceded way too many extras.
“We’ve all played long enough to know that no score is unchasable. We said we needed to start with intensity and didn’t do that. There were way to make extras from our point of view.
“Batting was superb, the first six on this wicket was the best time to bat and both sides did that. The execution of our extras, it makes it very tough because you are always under the pump.”
Coming to the crease after England had rocketed off to 71 for 2 in 4.3 overs, Root attacked the bowling with gusto and set up the victory before departing, caught in the deep, when 11 were needed off the last 10 balls.
“It’s just nice to contribute to a game of cricket. Be sensible, play smart cricket and the guys were so calm under pressure.
“It’s about staying cool and building partnerships.”