England’s dramatic collapse after being in a position of absolute strength coupled with a blistering half-century by AB de Villiers ensured hosts South Africa registered a comfortable victory to clean sweep the 2-match T20 series at Johannesburg on Sunday.
England looked well on their way to a big score at 157-3 in the 17th over to be all out for just 171 runs and the collapse seemed to affect the tourist when they came out to bowl as well with South Africa clinching victory with nine wickets in hand and more than five overs to spare.
Chris Morris’ batting heroics, for the second time in close succession, had meant England headed into the contest on the back of four straight losses. South Africa went in unchanged as expected while England brought in Sam Billings in favour of David Willey. With the record-breaking T20 contest between West Indies and South Africa still a distant memory, both captains wanted to chase and delightfully from the Wanderers’ crowd perspective, it was Du Plessis who won the toss.
The drama began right from ball one as JP Duminy dropped a regulation catch, but batsman Jason Roy couldn’t make use of the opportunity as he was dismissed by Kagiso Rabada in his next over. The dismissal didn’t seem to affect England’s planning though as Joe Root came in and started smacking the balls right from the word go.
The England batsmen targetted David Wiese all-night but were cautious against Imran Tahir on a pitch that was helping the spinners. It was Tahir who condemned England to their first mini batting collapse as he got rid of the dangerous Root before Alex Hales was dismissed run out after a dreadful mix-up with skipper Eoin Morgan.
Morgan though didn’t affect that affect his batting, as he along with Jos Buttler went on to put on a 96-run partnership for the fourth wicket as the likes of Wiese, Duminy and Morris felt the heat of England’s aggressive batting. Buttler scored a fine half-century while Morgan made 38 and it was yet another run out that changed the fortunes of the match.
Buttler held out to Du Plessis at covers before Morgan followed next ball after backing up too much as a fiercely hit shot hit by Stokes brushed kyle Abbott’s fingers before crashing into the stumps at the non-striker’s end. The rest of the batsmen followed like a pack of cards as England went from 157-3 to 171 all out, when at one time a score in excess of 200 looked very much gettable.
AB de Villiers wasted little time in getting the run chase going hitting the very first ball he faced for a four. It was a sign of things to come as he smashed 12 runs in the first over by birthday-boy Reece Topley before dishing out a bigger punishment for Chris Jordan smashing him for 22 runs in an over.
The onslaught continued as none of the England bowlers managed an economy rate of under 7-runs-an-over. The powerplay overs fetched 88 runs but the fielding restrictions didn’t bother De Villiers one bit as he smashed 33 runs off the next two overs before his 29-ball 71 knock was brought to an end by Adil Rashid who claimed the only wicket to fall in the South African innings.
The result though was never in doubt as Hashim Amla, with a half-century and Du Plessis scored the remaining runs without much worry. De Villiers was awarded the Man-of-the-Match trophy while Tahir claimed the Man-of-the=e-Series trophy.
England 171 (19.4/20 overs)
South Africa 172/1 (14.4/20 overs)
South Africa won by 9 wickets (with 32 balls remaining)