England v SA, World T20, Group 1, Chittagong March 29, 2014

England pay for Dernbach's latest calamity cameo

There were other negatives with the ball and in the field but ultimately 26 runs in nine balls from Jade Dernbach swept England's World T20 hopes away into the Bay of Bengal

England are not out of the World T20 yet. Although that is only because the formality of one last commitment against Netherlands awaits. They lost one rain-affected match, another in superficially close circumstances and in between pulled off their greatest T20 chase. Few expected them to do much better, after the winter they have had.

But there will be regrets about how this game slithered away from them, as another wayward performance with the ball and in the field pushed the batting too far into the red. England had won the toss and, in light of the ever-present dew, seemingly half the battle. Instead, South Africa became the first team to defend a total in the late slot during Chittagong's second-round matches.

It began with Jos Buttler missing a simple stumping but ended most emphatically with the sight of Jade Dernbach, a glass cage of emotion at the best of times, being taken apart by AB de Villiers on his way to the fastest T20 fifty by a South African. As de Villiers unfurled his full range, including an eye-popping reverse sweep off Chris Jordan and a trampoline scoop over deep square leg against Tim Bresnan's attempted yorker, 55 runs cascaded from the last three overs and swept England's hopes away into the Bay of Bengal.

The mitigation for Dernbach usually goes as follows: he bowls in the Powerplays and at the end, he is bound to get some tap. Unfortunately, he no longer seems able to stop the tap running, with England constantly having to deal with an overflowing bath. This was worse than his 0 for 49 in Sydney in January, although the wet ball, which resulted in one chest-high beamer, clearly caused problems. Too much variation is usually the issue but here Dernbach was consistent, monotonously finding the wrong length.

De Villiers sometimes seems to bat like he is a savant, for whom normal limitations such as the pitch or the opponent don't seem to apply. This time, both were to his liking. Dernbach's third over, the 18th of South Africa's innings, did not take much transcending but he could perhaps console himself with the thought that de Villiers has spiked better bowlers - namely Dale Steyn, during an IPL mini-epic for Royal Challengers Bangalore two years ago - and will doubtless do so again.

Two fours, two sixes, two wides, a two, a single and a no-ball was the pared-back, stripped-down, acoustic version, minus the screeching feedback. Nine balls, 26 runs - a number that comfortably encompassed England's margin of defeat. The anti-Jade brigade was in full voice, with even the coach of Hong Kong (an Australian, it has to be said) chipping in. "Has Dernbach got an IPL gig? #deserves" tweeted Charlie Burke.

"It was an important over, with the short boundary," de Villiers said. "We hadn't had a lot of big overs, I felt it was time. The bounce of the ball was in my side, unfortunately for him his execution wasn't spot on. He's a really good bowler but with the wet ball and the short boundary, it was my night."

As ever with a Dernbach calamity cameo, there was a dropped catch, though Buttler did his best to atone for earlier errors with a full-length dive after David Miller had gloved a pull behind. For all that Dernbach does not seemed to have learned a great deal from his three years as an England player, there is a touching honesty about his performances and his pain; the doleful look in his eyes can be genuinely affecting. Dernbach wears his heart on his sleeve, somewhere among all the tattoos.

Sentimentality aside, though, an economy rate of 8.71 - joint worst of bowlers who have sent down 300 deliveries or more in T20 - is likely to be his epitaph. We may not see England's third-highest wicket-taker in the format in a solar red shirt again.

This match was not a highly buffed spectacle of uber cricket, de Villiers aside. Dernbach and Buttler had the messiest copybooks but there were plenty of other examples. Moeen Ali dropped de Villiers on to the rope for four; Wayne Parnell started with a leg-side wide and then fell over in his follow-through (although he more than made amends); the umpire Rod Tucker even denied South Africa the wicket of Alex Hales by overzealously no-balling Albie Morkel.

Perhaps this is what you get when you play cricket with a bar of soap in a sauna where the lights keep going out and the floor is in a state of permanently being mopped.

There may have been a lot of Kentucky Fried Cricket on offer but only de Villiers was in possession of the special recipe. The crowd had had their fill and the last knockings of England's run chase, completed some four hours after the game had begun, were overseen by plenty of empty seats. Hales had briefly threatened to rain down mayhem again but by the time Ravi Bopara was taking aim at the stands in a by-now-familiar exercise in futility, few were left to worry about getting hit.

"At the end of the day, T20 is an entertainment business," Stuart Broad said afterwards. It brought to mind a line spoken by Russell Crowe in Gladiator as he stands in the middle of a bloodied arena: "Are you not entertained?"

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • David on March 30, 2014, 14:32 GMT

    Dernbach hard done by for me. Broad not bowled well in T20s for as long as I can remember. Bresnan gets mullered every time at the end. It was obvious from ball one that AB was intent on going big and as arguably the best batsman in the world, I would suggest even the previous greats of Warne, Murali etc would've been dispatched yesterday. You need to take 8 runs off Dernbach's figures anyway; the wide which AB hit the cover off which then led to a no-ball and a 6 afterwards from the extra ball gave South Africa that momentum through appalling officiating.

  • Dummy on March 30, 2014, 12:21 GMT

    @Now you know .KP is gone .Why are you crying for him to come back .You say they wont win anything of note without him then you mean they will not win anything in the future(KP will not be around till 80 years of age ) .Of course its Jade Dernbachs fault .That guy has been proved incompetent a number of times .I d like to see a steven finn in there or any other bowler they have in england and theyll do much better than Dernbach .

  • Martyn on March 30, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    The Loss has nothing to do with Durnbach, I suggest the reason for the loss is 2 words Kevin Pietersen He should have been there Mark my words England will not win anything of note without him No test series of note no world cup and no T20

  • Bob on March 30, 2014, 9:21 GMT

    It's OK guys.. it's the team ethic..If you buy into the team ethic.. your place is secure no matter how poorly you perform. That's why most of the 11 who played and lost last night are still there after consistently failing in previous matches.. Fail to conform and no matter how good you are.. you are OUT.. there's no place for you. . and that's why players like Carberry, Patel, Trego, and many others of the same ilk are not there. However.. I'm not quite sure what part of the team ethic covers dragging Bell first to the WI and then to Bangladesh and not playing him...or Kieswetter.. summoned urgently and not used. Mysterious to say the least..

  • Bruce on March 30, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    @Anuj Sejra: did you watch the game? Your best batsman was gifted a bunch of runs by not being given out. A bit worse than a dodgy wide call. Eng had more of the luck - toss,dew,lights,no-ball etc. and still lost, mainly due to rubbish fielding, dropped catches and missed stumpings. Maybe look inwards and you'll see the real problems instead of blaming a dodgy wide call or two. A good team overcomes life's curveballs - like SA did after the no-ball. They got back to work and got him out again and made plans to nullify the extra runs gifted to England. Btw, the only reason it came so close is Steyn made sure he bowled no noballs or wides. Eng were well beaten. The score was very flattering.

  • Dummy4 on March 30, 2014, 8:17 GMT

    Parnell got two wickets with MASSIVE no balls. One a good six inches over. England's top order destroyed... By no balls. No one talks about that. Where was the third umpire? Where was DRS?

  • Michael on March 30, 2014, 8:10 GMT

    @Anuj Sejra, if you bring that into consideration, you should also remember that Alex Hales was dismissed early on by Albie Morkel, but he was unfairly no-balled. Hales went on to score a further 30 runs if I remember correctly, so I'd say England might have benefited more from Umpire mistakes.

  • Chanderbir on March 30, 2014, 8:04 GMT

    England was a bit unlucky to lose first match by D/L but they have been too inconsistent in their performance..

    Why didn't Bopara bowl 4 overs.. He is one of their better bowlers.. He can bowl regularly and give small 7-8 runs overs.. Also, he bowled well yesterday.. 13 in 2 overs is rather good.. Even Tredwell didn't finish his 4 overs..

    Then, Dernbach is a bad selection.. He has tried his best to prove that.. His economy rate is above 10 in this series.. But seems no one wants to take notice.. From the team, they could have played a spinner like Parrry rather than him.. 4 fast bowlers.. They have been too rigid to even realise some small facts..

  • Android on March 30, 2014, 7:50 GMT

    Actually one gotta feel for Dernbach. Agreed he is expensive but whats more perplexing is that he is emotionally so fragile. One bad decision or one drop catch, he is shattered to pieces.

    Forget about Dilscoop, forget about Marilier cut or any other unorthodox shot in cricket you can imagine, none dares to do it ABD way, i mean how can you shuffle to off then get down on your knees then reverse sweep a fastball bowled at 148kph!!!!! thats inhuman...:)

  • Jackie on March 30, 2014, 7:50 GMT

    Giles made an early call on sticking with the same team "to give them confidence" instead of using the warm up games to try out players in different roles. Bopara always seemed to come in too late. Morgan and Buttler were coming in too early. Moeen Ali at 3 has gone under the radar but if you look at other teams they have very strong players batting at 3. Ali proved to be a weak link. England had lost Root and Wright to injury but Wright was in very poor form and Root is still unconvincing. They were missing KP of course. Even so England were clearly a decent batsman light because they were trying to shore up the very poor bowling attack. Meanwhile Bell was sitting on the sidelines. It always seemed a strange decision to not try Bell out. All the international teams - with the exception of Australia - have a batsman of Bell's class in their t20 side. It pays off. Alma, de Villiers, Jayawardene, Kohli, have all thrived in t20 as did Dravid and Tendulkar in the IPL.

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