Root continues to shine as England impress

Joe Root continued to stake his claim as the world’s most complete batsman with a sensational performance as England secured a stunning victory over South Africa at the World T20 in India. Despite being set a mammoth 229, a Root-inspired England chased down their target to record a vital two-wicket victory. The Yorkshireman hit 83 runs from 44 deliveries. On the back of another sensational 12 months in all formats of the game, Root really stepped up when England needed him in their second match of the tournament. He came in with his side 71-2 and producing one of his best performances in Twenty20 cricket.

Since bursting on to the international scene in 2012, Root has scored just short of 3,500 Test runs in 72 innings at an average of 54.93. He has a best of 200 not out and has hit nine centuries and 19 half centuries. At the same time, he played a massive role in England’s Ashes victory last year. But it hasn’t just been in the Test arena where Root has shone during his short career. He has also scored eight centuries and 12 fifties in 64 ODI innings at an eye- catching strike rate of 84.46.

While he is yet to notch up a T20 hundred, Root’s crucial innings against South Africa was his third half century in the shortest format, taking his total 476 from 14 innings at an average of 39.66, with a highest score of 90 not out. Boasting a strike rate of 140.82, Root has shown that he can adapt his game to T20 cricket and his brutal display against South Africa will have only gone to further enhance his reputation in the lucrative world of Twenty20 cricket.

Against a South Africa team who have been very popular with who bet on cricket in the run- up to this tournament, England’s chances of victory appeared all but over when South Africa smashed the second highest World T20 total of 229. While Jason Roy and Alex Hales made a promising start to England’s reply, their chances looked even worse when Root came out to the crease with his side two wickets down for 71 runs. 

Alongside Jos Buttler, Root took England to the brink of victory before falling with 11 runs needed. Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid steered Eoin Morgan’s men to a crucial and famous win. Hitting six fours and four sixes, Root played in the same care-free manner in which he has gone about his entire career despite knowing that defeat would very likely have left England all but out of the competition. Facing some of world cricket’s best T20 bowlers in Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir, Root looked comfortable right away as he hit the South African attack to all parts of the ground in Mumbai. 

While there are plenty of areas of this England side that need to improve if they are going to repeat their 2010 exploits, not least their ability to keep their opponents below 200, having the likes of Root and Buttler in this sort of form clearly means this team won’t be intimidated chasing any total.

* “Joe Root fielding in the deep for ENG v“ (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  amg.lincluden