England completed their second-highest run chase in T20Is and the fourth-highest run-chase overall when they chased down the target of 223 set by South Africa and took the three-match T20I series 2-1.
Jason Roy, who gave England quick starts in the first two T20Is, missed out this time but it was his opening partner Jos Buttler who made sure with a quickfire 57 that England had momentum right from the beginning of the run-chase. Jonny Bairstow continued his hot form as he scored a blazing 64 and along with Buttler built a strong platform for England. It was then skipper Eoin Morgan who played the defining innings, scoring 57 off just 22 balls and remained unbeaten as England won the game with five balls to spare.
Earlier, the opening duo of Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock were again able to give South Africa a fantastic start, adding 84 runs for the first wicket. They then lost wickets in the middle overs which seemed to dampen the brilliant start that they got. But Heinrich Klassen played a fiery knock of 66 and was helped by David Miller's brilliant 35* which helped South Africa post a mammoth 222-6 in their 20 overs.
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Bavuma,de Kock shine again
South Africa's opening woes seem to be solved as Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock were successful in providing the Proteas yet another brilliant start. This time Bavuma was the more aggressive of the two, scoring 49 off 24 balls which included 4 fours and 3 sixes while de Kock added 35 off 24 balls including 1 four and 4 sixes. This provided the Proteas with an excellent platform on which they could capitalise.
Klassen's blazing 66 sends South Africa enroute huge score
When Heinrich Klassen came out to bat, South Africa had lost all of their set batsmen but had a good platform set. Klassen knew that he had to keep the momentum going to help the Proteas reach a total in excess of 200. That is exactly what happened as Klassen went absolutely berserk and began to tonk the England bowlers across all parts of the ground. He scored 66 off just 33 balls which included 4 fours and 4 sixes and it was his innings that later helped South Africa reach a total of 222.
Buttler, Bairstow set the tone for England
England had to chase a daunting target of 223 and lost their in-from and hard-hitting batsman Jason Roy early. But this time, Jos Buttler, who missed out on scoring in the first two T20Is, made sure that England got off to a flying start alongside Jonny Bairstow who seems to have taken to life at number three position like fish takes to water.
Buttler scored 57 off 29 balls which included 9 fours and 2 sixes while Bairstow's quickfire 64 included 7 fours and 3 sixes. The duo added 91 runs for the second wicket and set up a great patform for the middle-order to chase down the target.
Eoin Morgan leads from the front
Skipper Morgan came out to bat at a time when both set batsmen Buttler and Bairstow were back in the hut and England still needed another 83 runs off 45 balls. Morgan not only stabilized the England innings but quickly took the attack to the opposition bowlers. With Ben Stokes, Morgan stitched an important partnership in the end as England won the game with five balls to spare. Morgan hit an unbeaten 57 off 22 balls which included 7 sixes.
Morgan's impactful innings was really the difference between the two sides and thus the England captain was adjudged the Man of the Match. He was also judged the Man of the Series for his brilliant contribution with the bat for the England team. Here were his thoughts after a wonderful series win for England -
It was a hell of a game. We have to commend both sides. It was not the easiest grounds to bowl at. Going back to 2016 World T20 with this group of players, we chased down 230 against the South African side, there is always the belief going in at the halfway stage. If we can get a partnership going, we can be quite destructive and the guys up top really laid the platform. Extremely satisfying whenever I contribute to a win. The cricket that we have played has been so close and there has been nothing between the two sides. It has definitely been a hugely productive series.
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South Africa: 222-6 (20 overs)
Heinrich Klassen 66(33), Temba Bavuma 49(24); Tom Curran 2/33
England: 226-5 (19.1 overs)Published 17 Feb 2020, 00:40 IST