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No room for error from here, says Jos Buttler on a day when England go down to South Africa in cricket, rugby WCs

South Africa posted a massive score of 399 in 50 overs before reducing the Three Lions to 90 for 7 from where the tail took them to 170.

England’s Adil Rashid (L) and skipper Jos Buttler (C) celebrate the wicket of South Africa’s Reeza Hendricks as Joe Root looks on during their match in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, at Wankhede Stadium, in Mumbai on Saturday, October 21, 2023. (ANI Photo)

By: India Weekly Staff

ENGLAND captain Jos Buttler accepted the champions “have no room for error from here on in” at the World Cup after a record 229-run defeat by South Africa.

The Proteas piled up 399-7 after Buttler sent them into bat in Mumbai on Saturday (21), with Heinrich Klaasen defying the hot and humid conditions at the Wankhede Stadium to post a gutsy hundred.

England, having conceded their highest one-day international total, then collapsed to 170 as they suffered what was also their record loss at this level.

They have now lost three of their first four games — a nine-wicket hammering by New Zealand and shock defeat by Afghanistan also on their record — with another defeat likely to scupper their hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals.

“It certainly leaves us in a tough position,” said Buttler, whose side next play Sri Lanka on Thursday (26).

“There’s no room for error from here on in.

“It’s going to be incredibly difficult. We haven’t left ourselves any margin from this point in. But we’ll keep the belief. We’ll sit down and go again.”

England’s bowlers were powerless to resist as Klaasen (109) and Marco Jansen (75 not out) shared a sixth-wicket stand of 151 in just 77 balls.

Faced with an enormous chase, England’s batsmen felt compelled to go for their shots against a proven South Africa pace attack.

But there was still something alarming about the way in which they were dismissed in 22 overs.

“I think it’s obvious that we’re not performing to our best,” said Buttler.

“It’s my job as captain, along with the rest of the team, to work out how we can get back to playing that brand of cricket, playing to our potential and getting back to our best.

“It certainly won’t be anyone giving up or having those kind of thoughts. We’ll just have to dust ourselves down and stick our chests out and go again.”

Saturday’s result might have been different had Buttler opted to bat first after winning the toss.

As it was, his decision to field exposed the whole of England’s XI to the energy-sapping conditions, with the temperature soaring to 36 degrees.

“With hindsight, with the physicality of that innings, potentially batting first would have been a better decision,” Buttler said.

“It’s a decision I took at the time. I thought it was the right one and I still believe if we were chasing 340, 350, we would have done really well in those conditions.”

South Africa defeat England in rugby World Cup too

Handre Pollard broke English hearts as he landed a 49-metre penalty three minutes from time to book South Africa’s place in the World Cup final as they edged England 16-15 at the Stade de France on Saturday.

The Springboks trailed from the second minute when Owen Farrell landed the first of his four penalties but a late surge from the defending champions, which included a try from RG Snyman as well as Pollard’s enormous match-winning kick, saw them into a fourth final where they will meet their old rivals New Zealand.

“I think they put us under pressure in exactly the right areas,” said Pollard.

“But jeez the fight we showed, never giving up, it is what we stand for as a team and as a nation.”

Farrell was extremely proud of his teammates but also gracious in defeat.

“I am unbelievably proud of this group and what they have done over this past few months together,” he said.

“It has not all gone our way as everybody knows, we have had everything thrown at us – it has been a rollercoaster.

“Credit to them (Springboks) fighting their way back into it and finding a way to win at the end.”

With England leading 15-6 after dominating and controlling play for the first 70 minutes of the game, South Africa grabbed a lifeline with Snyman’s try.

After kicking a penalty to the corner, Snyman rose to collect the line-out ball and was then on hand when it came back to him to power through three England tacklers and crash over for the try.

Pollard, who had been brought on after just 30 minutes for a misfiring Manie Libbok, made no mistake to reduce the gap to just two points with 10 minutes to play.

Three minutes from time, England were penalised by New Zealand referee Ben O’Keeffe, who also whistled the Boks’ one point win last week over France, for collapsing the scrum.

From just in front of halfway Pollard coolly fired the ball between the posts to put the Boks in front for the first time.

Victory takes the holders through to their fourth final where either they or the All Blacks will become the first team to notch up four World Cup wins.

In a repeat of the 2019 final, England appeared to have turned the tables on the Boks with a superb performance in the wet and windy conditions.

England began brightly with Farrell getting his first chance off the tee after just two minutes when lock Franco Mostert was called for preventing the ball coming out of the ruck. From 35 metres Farrell made no mistake.

Eight minutes later, Farrell was again on target, this time after Bok captain Siya Kolisi was penalised in the ruck.

Leading into the game, South African coach Jacques Nienaber had talked about England’s ability to “strangle” teams and that is precisely what they were trying to do here, the high kicks putting South Africa on to the back foot and the quick follow-up ‘offensive’ defence forcing Springbok errors and turnovers.

The Boks finally got on the board from 40 metres through Libbok but his game, more suited to a dry, flat deck, was off key and he was replaced by Pollard.

The 2019 World Cup winner nailed the first penalty chance he had but two up the other end from Farrell meant England turned around with a 12-6 advantage.

South Africa returned to the field for the second half two minutes before the English and 90 seconds later brought on Faf de Klerk for Cobus Reinach, restoring the half-back partnership that won the Webb Ellis Cup in 2019.

Willie Le Roux, another veteran replacement, came close to scoring the first try 11 minutes into the second half.

Cheslin Kolbe on the left wing collected a neat cross-kick from Pollard before chipping the ball through for Le Roux to chase. His boot was a touch too heavy, however, and the ball rolled through the dead ball line.

Almost immediately, Farrell slapped them hard with a stunning 48-metre drop goal to stretch the England lead to 15-6. But the South Africans are known for never giving up a lost cause and so Pollard proved.

(AFP)

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