England: 204-7 (20 overs)
South Africa 202-7 (20 overs)
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In another game that went right down to the wire, England managed to hold their nerve and beat South Africa by just 2 runs and leveled the series 1-1. Tom Curran bowled a great last over to make sure that England took the series to its decider in the third T20I.
Needing 205 to win, South Africa got off to a fantastic start with skipper Quinton de Kock playing a blazing knock of 65 off just 22 balls. The opening duo of Temba Bavuma and de Kock added 92 runs in just 7.5 overs for the opening stand. Later, Rassie van der Dussen kept one end ticking while wickets kept on falling on the other end. Chris Jordan took two wickets in two balls and brought England back in the game. With the game going down to the wire, Tom Curran held his nerve in the last over and nailed his yorkers and slower balls to give England a victory by 2 runs.
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Earlier, England lost Jos Buttler early but Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow helped them get off to a flying start. Ben Stokes remained unbeaten on 47 off 30 balls while the defining innings was played lower down the order by Moeen Ali, who scored 39 off just 11 balls, helping England post a mammoth target of 205 runs for South Africa to chase down.
Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow provide England a great start
England lost the explosive Jos Buttler early but Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow did not let the momentum slip away in the favour of South Africa. Roy took full advantage of the field restrictions and began to play his natural game. He scored 40 off 29 balls which included 3 fours and 2 sixes while Jonny Bairstow scored a quickfire 35 off just 17 balls which included 2 fours and 3 sixes.
Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes annhilate South African bowlers
The score was just 125 in the 16th over when Moeen Ali walked out to bat and getting a score in excess of 180 would have been a great effort from the England batting. However, Ali along with Stokes, took the game to South Africa and began to accelerate. Ali hit 39 of just 11 balls at an unbelievable strike rate of 354.55 which included 3 fours and 4 huge sixes. Stokes assisted with a brilliant 47 off 30 balls as England were able to cross 200 and set the Proteas a daunting target of 205.
Quinton de Kock slams fastest fifty
The South Africans needed a quick start from their openers in order to break the back of this chase. Quinton de Kock provided exactly that as he began to attack the England bowlers from ball one and did not let anyone settle into their rhythm. He brought up his fifty in just 17 balls becoming the fastest South African to slam a fifty in T20Is. His 65 off 22 balls included 2 fours and 8 sixes and took South Africa way ahead in the game.
The thrilling final over
15 runs were required off the last over and Tom Curran was given the responsibility of bowling England to victory. After the first dot ball, Dwayne Pretorius hit a six and a four off the next two balls to help South Africa in closer to the target. With a double off the next ball, South Africa now needed only 3 runs from 2 balls. At this point, Curran trusted his yorker and got it spot on as Pretorius was adjudged LBW. With 3 runs required off the last ball, Bjorn Fortuin tried to scoop the slower ball over fine leg but was caught by Adil Rashid, giving England a narrow victory by 2 runs.
Moeen Ali's cameo of 39 from just 11 balls was the difference between the two sides and thus he was adjudged the player of the match. Here were his thoughts after the game -
"Was nice to go out and middle a few. Tried to put pressure back on the bowlers. We bat deep and that helps. It has been a reason why we have been successful over the years. When you are playing well, you need to keep it simple. Was glad to contribute to an England win."
South Africa beat England by 1 run in the first T20I in Buffalo Park, East London on February 12. The third and deciding T20I will be played in Centurion on Sunday, February 16, 2020.