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Over to you, Bokke, the Proteas got the job done in Cricket World Cup clash against England

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The Proteas were too strong for England on Saturday as they secured a convincing win in their Cricket World Cup match in Mumbai.

South Africa's Kagiso Rabada celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of England's Ben Stokes during their Cricket World Cup match
South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of England’s Ben Stokes during their Cricket World Cup match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday. Photo: Punit Paranjpe/AFP

Much more of this and South Africa will quickly be known as the Jekyl and Hyde of this Cricket World Cup.

Just a few days after being humbled by the Netherlands, the Proteas delivered a near-perfect performance to dethrone world champions England by a record 229 runs on a steamy night at the celestial Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

It not only revived South Africa’s campaign, but has left England’s defence of their World Cup crown hanging by the slightest of threads.

It was a day that started in the worst possible fashion for South Africa with captain Temba Bavuma ruled out through “illness” and the in-form Quinton de Kock dismissed second ball, but finished in regal fashion with Heinrich Klaasen, clad only in a white towel draped over his shoulder, looking on from the dressing room like the great Julius Caesar, as the South African bowlers and fielders finished off what he had emphatically earlier set in motion.

Klaasen was not able to join his teammates out in the field for he was simply blown after his magnificent 109 off 67 balls that set up South Africa’s mammoth 399/7 — the highest total England have conceded in an ODI.

The flamed-haired batter has enjoyed a splendid last 12 months across white-ball formats, and while he’s threatened in previous matches at this World Cup, he had yet to pull the trigger.

But last night it was all guns blazing. Even though he was suffering from severe cramp in the extreme humidity, Klaasen blasted his second fifty off just 21 balls, as he ensured South Africa did not let a solid foundation set up by the recalled Reeza Hendricks (85 off 75 balls) and Rassie van der Dussen (60 off 61 balls) go to waste.

Klaasen was not firing shots on his own though. After a timid start, Marco Jansen exploded with a brutally destructive 75* (3×4, 6×6) from only 42 balls in a sixth-wicket partnership of 151 runs off just 77 balls.

England never recovered from the South African onslaught that yielded 143 runs in the final 10 overs, and a mind-blowing 84 off the last five.

Buoyed by his career-best batting exploits, Jansen swung the new ball at pace and through excellent planning and a review by stand-in captain Aiden Markram had dismissed both Joe Root and Dawid Malan in his first three overs to put the skids under England’s run chase.

And with Lungi Ngidi also moving the ball at high pace at the other end, which also accounted for Jonny Bairstow being caught in the deep, England were reeling at 24/3.

England’s hopes now rested solely with their miracle man Ben Stokes, who was back playing his first game of this World Cup.

But even Stokes is a mere mortal when confronted by a fired-up Kagiso Rabada, who had the all-rounder caught and bowled, to virtually end England’s hopes — and possibly their entire World Cup challenge.

England folded quicker than a deck of cards after Stokes’ dismissal, with young paceman Gerald Coetzee (3/35) running through the middle-order with three scalps.

South Africa’s margin of victory would have been even more emphatic were it not for some lusty blows from Mark Wood (43 not out) and Gus Atkinson (35) towards the end, but even a few dropped chances could not take the shine off a night that belonged well and truly to the Proteas.

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