Dominant SA cruise past England

Johannesburg. — An England implosion that saw their last seven wickets go down for just 14 runs and a sublime performance with the bat, combining the power of AB de Villiers with the elegance of Hashim Amla, saw South Africa seal the two-match T20 series in emphatic fashion. Victory meant South Africa won both limited-overs series against England, after losing the Test series, and ended the tour in fine style.

On a Wanderers pitch packed with runs, England needed a total in excess of 200 but could not get away at the start of the innings, rebuilt with a 96-run stand between Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler and then collapsed. De Villiers and Amla then made England wonder if 300 would have been enough when they polished off 100 runs inside seven overs to set South Africa up for a dominant win.

Unlike in the previous matches on this tour, South Africa did not allow England to get away from them early on. Kagiso Rabada and Kyle Abbott kept a lid on things by bowling back of a length. Rabada could have had Jason Roy out first ball but JP Duminy spilled the catch at short cover. Ten balls later, Rabada had his man when Roy tried to smack him down the ground, was beaten for pace and his off stump was uprooted.

South Africa continued with their short-ball strategy but it did not work as well against Joe Root. He scored the first boundary of the innings off one of those deliveries and went on to punish Abbott, Rabada, Chris Morris and then David Wiese, who was dealt with even more severely once Root was dismissed.

The introduction of spin allowed South Africa to pull things back when Imran Tahir had Root caught on the extra cover boundary and he was on hand to run out Alex Hales when Eoin Morgan seemed to commit a second as Morris raced in from deep midwicket. By the time he sent Hales back it was too late.

With two new batsmen at the crease, England needed time to rebuild and once Buttler had settled, he took it on himself to accelerate. He found runs with power and placement, particularly off Wiese, who missed the yorker and tried the slower ball without success. Morgan joined the party and Wiese’s second and third overs cost 30 runs.

He was replaced by Duminy, who fared no better. Buttler targeted Duminy, Morgan looked more confident than he has throughout the series and was reading Morris well. With four overs to go, England, on 150, were well on track for a big score.

Then, their fortunes changed. Buttler was caught inches off the turf by Faf du Plessis and Morgan was run out at the non-striker’s end in successive balls. England had two new men in again and their luck got no better.

Stokes was caught off a ball that he should have hit into the ground but which popped up to Morris, Duminy made up for his earlier blunder with a good catch on the boundary to remove Moeen Ali and England were in free fall. — Cricinfo.

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