Soundly beaten in the tour. This is the reality check which has befallen South Africa after yet another disastrous series, this time at home, against England after the visitors romped to a 2-1 T20I series victory with a brilliant five-wicket victory at Supersport Park in Centurion on Sunday.
England cast aside a hugely-competitive total of 223 set by the hosts, ending on 226 for five with five balls remaining. Jonny Bairstow (64), Jos Buttler (57) and man of the match and the series, Eoin Morgan with an unbeaten 57, capped off Englands’s tour on a high after winning the Test series 3-1 and sharing the ODI series.
Morgan and Ben Stokes (22) clubbed 52 runs off the 17th, 18th and 19th overs with Lungi Ngidi (4-0-55-2) and Andile Phehlukwayo (3.1-0-34-1) bearing the brunt of the hard-hitters’ wrath. Before this, South Africa had made the perfect start when dangerman Jason Roy (7) was brilliantly caught by Tabraiz Shamsi at third man off Ngidi.
Bairstow and Buttler, however, took control of proceedings thereafter. The pair smashed 91 runs off only 50 deliveries for the second wicket to launch England’s mammoth chase before Shamsi claimed his second catch in the same position, this time off Dwaine Pretorius (4-0-40-1). With England 128-2 at the end of the 12th over, Shamsi (3-0-40-1) claimed the wicket of Dawid Malan (11) before Phehlukwayo clean-bowled Bairstow to give South Africa some faint hope.
Morgan and Stokes had different ideas as they smashed 61 runs off 27 balls to take the game away from the hosts, despite Stokes being caught by Beuran Hendricks – who was on the field for Temba Bavuma – on the square leg boundary off Ngidi. Pretorius incredibly put Moeen Ali down at short fine leg off Ngidi, while batting on five, before Morgan smashed two sixes to all but end the contest.
Earlier, Heinrich Klaasen, in for Jon-Jon Smuts, produced a flurry of clean-hitting as he smashed four boundaries and four sixes in his innings of 66 off 33 balls. Captain Quinton de Kock had won the toss and decided to bat first before he shared in a partnership of 84-runs off only 46 deliveries for the first wicket with Temba Bavuma. The Proteas had been given the perfect start after with De Kock eventually racking up 35 (one four and four sixes) off 24 balls while Bavuma (49) cracked four boundaries and three sixes, also off 24 balls.
Stokes (4-0-35-2) accounted for de Kock with Adil Rashid (4-0-42-1) bagging the scalp of Bavuma a few balls later, while Rassie van der Dussen (11) fell cheaply to place a chink in the home side’s armour. Klaasen and David Miller (35 not out) made it 64 off 36 balls for the fourth wicket. The ship began to wobble once the former was caught by Stokes on the boundary off Tom Curran (4-0-33-2).
The demise of his then-partner seemed to urge the other on as the Miller show began. He struck three boundaries and two sixes to lift South Africa past the 200-run mark, despite Pretorius and Phehlukwayo perishing cheaply, In the end, the second-highest total at Supersport Park was just not enough as England passed the total with nearly an over to spare.