England chased down 192 with ease as they exploited a limp Proteas bowling unit to complete a 3-0 T20I series whitewash.
The Proteas batsman gave their bowlers a very good total to defend, with those bowlers duly proceeding to mount a pathetic defence of the total.
Granted England are blessed with some of the format’s best and most destructive batsmen, including Dawid Malan who finished unbeaten on 99. But to leak runs at the rate the Proteas unit did is unacceptable.
They exhibited worrying deficiencies in skill and tactical IQ. Two of the five bowlers went at 14 or more per over. Another at nearly 10. That wouldn’t be good enough in a third-team club match, let alone an international against a side as good as England.
The bowlers were offered no discernible support by skipper Quinton de Kock, who looked disinterested, then defeated. He has to ask some hard questions of himself about his ongoing appetite for the captaincy.
To be whitewashed in a home series in such an emphatic manner should worry the Proteas selectors. This Proteas side was never going to beat England – there is a gulf in quality between the sides. But to surrender so meekly is unacceptable.
For a while it looked as if they would offer some resistance. Their openers De Kock and Temba Bavuma started strongly, scoring at above 8.5 an over. Then De Kock got out in almost identical fashion to the way he did in Paarl on Sunday, chipping the ball to mid-off.
Chris Jordan has now taken his wicket in all three the innings he has played in the series, each of those dismissals strikingly similar. This Proteas unit, so devoid of X-factor batsmen, needs De Kock to do well if they are to do well consistently.
Bavuma played with freedom, tactical clarity and intent for the first time in the series. He raced to 32 off 26 deliveries, but then surrendered tamely, picking the wrong ball to try to hit straight down the ground. Instead he spliced it to mid-off, and when Reeza Hendricks knicked off playing a nothing shot at a wide delivery, the Proteas were in trouble at 64-3.
Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen then restored some stability, sharing a 127-run partnership that got the Proteas back into the contest. If there are positives to take from this series, it is that Du Plessis is playing excellent cricket and Van der Dussen is steadily developing into a very good international white-ball cricketer.
Van der Dussen was particularly brutal on Jofra Archer in the 16th over, smashing the speedster for 22 to bring up his half-century off 23 deliveries. He then took Chris Jordan for 20 off the last over, helping the Proteas to a formidable score, with 84 runs coming off the last five overs.
The big target put the pressure on England’s batters from the outset. The openers got to 25 before Jason Roy was trapped lbw by Anrich Nortje. However, the Proteas were never able to build sustained pressure on the batters thereafter. The tourists rolled along at close to 10 per over through the powerplay, critically not losing another wicket in that period.
De Kock missed an easy opportunity to run out Malan when the world’s top-ranked T20I player was on 37. That proved costly, as Malan and Jos Buttler powered on, taking advantage of a relatively inexperienced bowling unit in the most ruthless and brutal way.
They were cruising at 125-1 after 12 overs, Malan going to 50 off 26 deliveries and Butler following soon after, his half-century coming off 34.
They never, ever looked in any danger of losing their wicket, finishing with a partnership of 167 (Malan 99*, Butler 67*).