England bow out after narrow loss to South Africa
Updated: Saturday, 29 Mar 2014 18:06
England's hopes of making the World Twenty20 semi-finals were finally extinguished after they lost a do-or-die shootout with South Africa by three runs in Chittagong.
Having allowed the Proteas to post a formidable 196 for five, England got within a blow of chasing down another record score following Alex Hales' heroics against Sri Lanka.
But they will now depart once Monday's final Super 10 clash with Holland is over, pondering the fine margins of defeat.
They did not produce an innings to match AB de Villiers' wonderful 69 not out or Hashim Amla's 56, nor could their bowlers summon a spell to rival Wayne Parnell's three-wicket blast or Imran Tahir's controlled display of leg-spin.
But had Jos Buttler stumped Amla on 19 or Jade Dernbach not been pummelled for 26 in an abject 18th over, they may have lived to fight another day.
And while there will be disappointment at failure to make the last four of the competition they won in 2010, there must also be a sense of relief that this most troubling of winters is finally at an end.
A permanent replacement for Andy Flower - most likely the incumbent Ashley Giles - will be appointed next month and a failed World T20 will join the Ashes whitewash as the final gasp before a fresh start.