England continued their winning momentum against South Africa from the 2nd T20I and won the series decider by 5 wickets at Centurion. With this win, England also conquered the 3-match T20I series 2-1.
Opting to bat first, South Africa got off to a flying start courtesy the 84-run opening stand between Quinton de Kock (35 runs off 24 balls) and Temba Bavuma (49 runs off 24 balls). Although the England bowlers picked up three wickets in quick succession, the explosive batting of Heinrich Klaasen (66 runs off 33 balls) and David Miller (35* off 20 balls) did not let the opponent bowlers acquire any semblance of control and South Africa finished with 222-6 in 20 overs.
In reply, England lost the wicket of Jason Roy (7 runs off 4 balls) early. But the partnership of Jos Buttler (57 runs of 29 balls) and Jonny Bairstow (64 runs off 34 balls) for the 2nd wicket kept England in the chase and thanks to the efficient middle-order England scored 226-5 in 19.1 overs to win the match.
The match became a run-feast as 448 runs were scored in total and the spectators enjoyed several hard-hitting innings which played a crucial role in posting such huge totals. And now, let's have a look at the three players who impressed everyone in the match.
#1. Eoin Morgan (57* off 22 balls)
England fumbled a little when they lost both Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow and the scoreboard read 140-3 in 12.3 overs with the required run-rate starting to go up. At that moment, while South Africa got a chance to bounce back, England had Eoin Morgan coming out to the middle to spoil the Proteas' party.
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England soon lost Dawid Malan (11 runs off 12 balls) too. But Morgan shouldered the responsibility to take England over the finish line. England's No.5 did not let the pressure get to him and launched an all-out attack on the South African bowlers to keep the required run-rate in check. Along with Ben Stokes (22 runs off 12 balls), Morgan added 61 runs in just 27 balls for the 5th wicket. After the departure of Stokes, Morgan held his nerves and hit two consecutive sixes off Lungi Ngidi in the 19th over to complete his fifty and knocked out South Africa of the match.
Morgan's unbeaten 57 included 7 sixes which propelled the England innings and played a crucial role in England's victory in the match.
#2. Jos Buttler (57 runs off 29 balls)
After the departure of Jason Roy (7 runs off 4 balls), England were 15-1 in 1.2 overs and needed a strong partnership for their survival in the match and they did get one in the form of Jos Buttler and Johnny Bairstow (64 runs off 34 balls) in which the former played the lead role.
Buttler attacked the South African bowlers right from the beginning to maintian the momentum, hitting them for 9 fours and 2 sixes in his 29-ball 57. The right-handed opener stitched a 91-run partnership (49 balls) with Jonny Bairstow who ably supported him to keep the scoreboard moving at-par and put England in a strong position in the match.
England lost the wicket of Buttler in the 10th over for a score of 106. Buttler could not last long after the completion of his fifty, but he did his job well to tilt the match in his team's favour in the first half of the chase.
#3. Heinrich Klaasen (66 runs off 33 balls)
The South African openers enjoyed their sojourn thoroughly as they sent whatever came in their arc out of the park. However, after losing their top-three in quick succession, South Africa found themselves in a spot of bother as the scoreboard read 113-3 in 11.2 overs.
But South Africa soon found a way to continue their march as Heinrich Klaasen, who was then batting at 16 off 11, shifted gears and toyed the England bowlers to blast fours and sixes. While he took the charge of taking the South African innings forward, his fireworks also allowed David Miller (35* off 20 balls) to settle in so that the latter could provide the required finishing touches. Along with Miller, Klaasen added 64 runs (31 balls) for the fourth wicket and put South Africa on top before he departed in the 17th over.
Klaasen's innings comprised 4 fours and as many sixes, giving South African scoring rate the much-needed boost in the middle overs.
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