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England hopes in balance after South Africa win thriller

T20 World Cup, St Lucia

South Africa 163-6 (20 overs): De Kock 65 (38), Miller 43 (28); Archer 3-40

England 156-6 (20 overs): Brook 53 (37); Maharaj 2-25

South Africa won by seven runs

Scorecard. Tables

England's hopes of reaching the T20 World Cup semi-finals are in the balance after they lost a final-over thriller against South Africa in St Lucia.

Harry Brook resurrected a floundering chase of 164 on a tricky pitch to leave 14 runs required from the final six balls.

But he was brilliantly caught for 53 by Aiden Markram off the first ball of the 20th over as the game swung back to the Proteas.

Sam Curran's boundary left England needing nine from the last three balls but Anrich Nortje closed out a seven-run win.

South Africa are now on the brink of qualification for the semi-finals, having won both of their Super 8 matches so far.

Their score of 163-6 was helped by a rapid start, with Quinton de Kock hitting 65 from 38 balls before England fought back through their spinners and some superb fielding.

England return to Barbados to play the United States on Sunday and a win would still put them in a strong position to progress.

There is rain forecast, however, and if West Indies beat the USA (Saturday, 01:30 BST) and follow that by overcoming the Proteas, England's fate could again come down to net run-rate.

England edged out in final over

England looked out of the game for much of the chase with Jos Buttler, Phil Salt, Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow all caught cheaply to leave them 61-4.

By the end they could easily have won it.

The pendulum swung their way when Proteas seamer Ottneil Baartman bowled five full tosses in the 17th over which cost 21.

That left England, who earlier needed 104 from the last 10 overs and 77 from the last six, requiring just 25 from 18 balls.

But Liam Livingstone was dismissed when he hit a full toss from Kagiso Rabada straight to deep square-leg in the next over, and the South Africa quick only conceded four singles.

Left-armer Marco Jansen kept the pressure on, with England unable to find a boundary in the penultimate over.

Still, with Brook at the crease and just 14 needed, England were right in the game - but it was fitting the decisive moment was a piece of athletic fielding in a match packed with such efforts.

With Brook trying to clear long-off, Proteas captain Markram ran back, leaped and held on to the catch as he sprawled on the turf.

Curran turned down a single in the dying moments, backing himself to clear the ropes, but Markram's effort was the match-winning moment.

De Kock knock crucial

Afterwards Buttler said the game was won in the powerplays. South Africa raced to 63-0 but England managed just 41 for the loss of Salt, who was caught by the diving Reeza Hendricks at extra cover.

De Kock had flogged Jofra Archer for two sixes and a four in the England seamer's first over which cost 21.

There were eight boundaries in South Africa's first six overs, although only one in the next six.

England fought back well. At halfway South Africa's score looked below par.

Leg-spinner Adil Rashid instigated a dramatic drop in scoring rate while Buttler leapt one-handed to his left to catch De Kock's edge off Jofra Archer.

Two overs later Butter swooped as South Africa tried to scamper a bye and threw down the stumps at the non-striker's end to run out the dangerous Heinrich Klaasen for a 13-ball eight.

David Miller hit 43 to lift the Proteas from 114-4, until he was caught well by the diving Brook in the final over.

Curran produced another good catch running to dismiss Jansen but ultimately England were left disappointed.

Brook's knock could yet prove crucial, however, in reducing the harm to their net run-rate in defeat.

'We're still in it' - what they said

England captain Jos Buttler: "I'd say it was lost in the powerplay. Quinton de Kock came out and played with really good intent and we couldn't really match that.

"I think we were about 20 behind them at the end of our first six. We know we're still in it. We played well today, we just didn't quite get over the line."

South Africa captain Aiden Markram: "Getting to those last three overs and it looks like the odds are against you, to hang in there and get the win shows a lot of skill, but it comes from a lot deeper than that. Fighting spirit really helped us today.

"We are getting closer to the complete game. We are not there yet but we are on the right track."

Player of the match - South Africa's Quinton de Kock: "I thought we bowled really well, especially in the powerplay. We controlled it really nicely. Overall we were pretty solid and to defend on 160 on a decent pitch is a good effort."