World Cup: South Africa humiliate defending champions England, Buttler and co handed 229 run defeat

SA restricted all English batters apart from Wood and Atkinson to scores below 20

South Africa's Heinrich Klaasen celebrates his century | Amey Mansabdar South Africa's Heinrich Klaasen celebrates his century | Amey Mansabdar

With Reece Topley absent hurt, Gus Atkinson and Mark Wood were the last English batters against South Africa in Mumbai on Saturday. While Wood remained unbeaten on 43 from 17 balls, Atkinson made 25 from 21. In a rare feat, the two tailenders were the top scorers for England as the defending champions were all out for 170 in pursuit of South Africa's 399/7.

The Proteas resumed from where they stopped to dominate the second innings of the game as well. They restricted all English batters apart from Wood and Atkinson to scores below 20. Every South African to pick the ball got a wicket at least with Gerald Coetzee (4.0-0-35-3) being the most successful.  

In World Cup history, this is now the joint-sixth highest by margin of runs.

For a side which lifted the last two white-ball ICC tournaments, England have hit the nadir in this edition as their woes deepened further across departments. They are now placed ninth in 10-team table.

A wrong call at the toss was followed by a poor bowling show, but what left a huge embarrassment to deal with for England was a stunning collapse on a batting-friendly surface here, which saw Jos Buttler's team rolling over for 170 for nine in 22 overs.

south-africa-vs-england-world-cup Mark Wood made the most runs for England | Amey Mansabdar

If it was not for a ninth-wicket 70-run stand between Mark Wood (43 not out) and Gus Atkinson (35), England's loss will feature among one of the worst in history of ODI cricket.

For what it is worth, Reece Topley unavailable to bat.

The return of their 'spiritual leader' Ben Stokes who did not bowl and managed a mere 5 also had no impact whatsoever as he played his first game in this World Cup since returning back from retirement.

Alongside the catastrophic defeat, Buttler's call to bowl first in most humid conditions, would also rankle for times to come since England's recent record of chasing only three wins in 11 matches since January 2022 did not back them up enough.

Jonny Bairstow (10) was bounced out by Lungi Ngidi (2/26), Joe Root (2) meekly played one to leg slip off Marco Jansen (2/35), who also had Dawid Malan (6) caught behind.

Kagiso Rabada (1/35) took a sharp return catch to end Stokes' stay.

The young Gerald Coetzee (3/35) then got into the act to account for Harry Brook (17), Buttler (15) and Adil Rashid (10) to pile further misery on England.

Gerald-Coetzee Gerald Coetzee | Amey Mansabdar

Earlier, Heinrich Klaasen produced a hundred of the highest quality in extremely humid conditions to fire South Africa to their highest total in the World Cup.

Klaasen resurrected South Africa with his third century of the year and overall fourth, hammering 109 off just 67 balls while Marco Jansen smashed a terrific 75 not out (42 balls, 3x4s, 6x6s).

South Africa stumbled in the middle overs after Reeza Hendricks (85 off 75 balls, 9x4s, 3x6s) and Rassie van der Dussen (60 off 61 balls, 8x4s) ensured a strong platform, leaving Klaasen with the challenge to do the heavy-lifting in the final 15 overs, even though he was well supported by Jansen.

Klaasen and Jansen together pulled South Africa from the danger of being restricted to an at-par total.

Klaasen and Jansen added 151 runs for the sixth wicket off just 77 balls, which is now a record for South Africa against England in ODIs as well as in World Cup history.

With Temba Bavuma falling ill and Quinton de Kock (4) falling early, South Africa needed a special batting effort and their batters ensured that.

The wheels came off for England as total of 143 runs were scored off the final 10 overs whereas the last five produced as many as 84.

England had to manage without Topley as the tall left-arm quick left the field despite trying to manage an injury to his finger.

Van der Dussen led South Africa's recovery from the early blow and after taking some time to find his feet 13 balls to get off the mark Hendricks played some spectacular shots too.

The powerplay yielded 59 runs for South Africa who welcomed England's express pace bowler Wood with a flurry of fours in his first over.

Joe Root's (0/48) bowling workload increased given Topley joined the field only before the 30th over.

Adil Rashid (2/61) struck twice in the middle overs to keep England in the hunt. A slow, tossed up delivery had van der Dussen mis-hitting in the air and caught by Jonny Bairstow and not much later, he had Hendricks chopping on to be dismissed a few short of his second ODI century in five years.

- With PTI inputs

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