South Africa handed England their biggest ever Cricket World Cup defeat by demolishing them by 229 runs on Friday in Mumbai. After posting an intimidating 399-7, South Africa bowled out the reigning champions for just 170 to claim their first win.
England captain Jos Buttler surprisingly opted to field first after winning the toss. They made an early breakthrough before Rassie van der Dussen and Reeza Hendricks piled on a 121-run stand to stabilize South Africa.
Adil Rashid eventually removed both set batters. But Heinrich Klaasen (109 off 67 balls) and Marco Jansen (75 off 41 balls) exploded in a rambunctious 143-run partnership in the death overs to propel South Africa to 399-7.
In reply, England never got going in the mammoth chase. They collapsed to 24-3 before Ben Stokes’ dismissal made it 44-4. Wickets tumbled regularly as pacemen Jansen, Lungi Ngidi and Gerald Coetzee did the damage.
Some late six-hitting from Mark Wood and Gus Atkinson spared England the ignominy of the lowest World Cup total. But South Africa bowled them out for 170 in just 22 overs to complete a comprehensive 229-run victory.
The massive defeat was England’s worst in World Cup history, surpassing a 202-run loss to India in 1975. For South Africa, it was a huge boost after losing their first two matches.
England’s crushing loss raises serious questions about their title defense. The scale of the defeat also dents their net run rate, dropping them to 9th in the overall standings.