The tilt against South Africa began with a coin's flip, giving the option to England. They selected the second position, letting South Africa bat first. While they hoped for a sluggish opening from the underdog, the Afrikaans came out firing. Three half-centuries from Amla, de Kock, and Duminy gave S.A. a lead that should have been insurmountable, but England's club put out a historic performance to grab 231 wickets with two balls to spare, downing their opponent in the highest scoring match in World Cup history.
Joe Root's contribution can't be diminished. His 83 off 44 was one of the most divine performances in T20 history. This, on the heels of Jason Roy's 43 off 16, sparked the home club, providing a vitality that is required at what is fast becoming the top tournament in international cricket.
Following their romp through the group stage, England faced its most difficult opponent in a fortnight, tilting against the club from New Zealand. The All Blacks hadn't dropped a contest in the tournament, regularly routing their opponents with a combination of immaculate bat control and sublime bowling. The prevailing sympathy was that the team who won this match was likely to be the eventual bearer of the Cup.
To that end, England was for the ready. Jason Roy again carried the day, bringing in 78 off 44 in England's 159 for 3 - 153 for 8. The accounting registers that Roy reined in nearly half of England's runs, but the sheer display was far more exemplary. As David Hopps noted,
At [Roy's] best, he is humanity at its most tempestuous - a mini adrenalin rush - and his first T20I half-century, perfectly timed at the 13th attempt, was the second fastest in England T20 history as he racked it up in 26 balls.
There was wildness about the four boundaries he took from the first over from Corey Anderson, but he middled the ball with increasing certainty, tattooed forearms whirring. A sumptuous straight drive against Mitchell McClenaghan possessed particular poise. After such a scintillating start, he could have reined himself in against Mitchell Santner's left-arm slows, such has been Santner's effectiveness throughout the tournament, but instead despatched him with successive straight drive and sweep.
His peerless performance set the stone, and his fellow ruddermates forged the sword against it. With 7 wickets left on the balance, it was a drubbing the likes of which New Zealand has not seen for some time. It places England on the winds of destiny, as they set sail for the West Indies in the final on Sunday.This T20 has already come at the cost of history, shattered under the weight of England's performance. Sunday the Cup, and the world with it.
The batsmen were tip-top for the Majesty's royal run through the table.