England have beaten the Proteas by 19 runs in Cardiff to win the three-match T20 series 2-1.
After winning the second match against the odds at Taunton on Friday, the Proteas fancied their chances of turning things around and winning the series 2-1 at Sophia Gardens. However, like the opener in Southampton, the visitors were thoroughly outclassed in all departments, meaning they’ll go in to the Test series on the back of ODI and T20 series defeats, as well as the group-stage exit from the Champions Trophy.
England have looked better in the field, shown more intent with the bat and showed more composure with the ball throughout the series. The positives the South Africans can take out of it, is Andile Phehlukwayo’s knack for performing when it matters most, as well as Dane Paterson’s capabilities as a death bowler. The biggest negative was David Miller’s inability to step up in the absence of the senior players with three single-figure scores.
To rub salt into the wounds, it was yet another South African-educated player to deliver the goods for England. Paarl Boys’ old boy Dawid Malan reached the joint-fourth highest score in a T20 debut, as his Man of the Match performance, scoring 78 off just 44 balls, got his side to 181-8.
Malan blasted a six off his second ball and continued in assured fashion. He hit 12 fours and two sixes in a 105-run stand with Alex Hales, who scored 36 as he largely watched from the other end.
Jos Buttler, stand-in captain for the rested Eoin Morgan, produced a cameo of 32 off 21 balls, but the South African bowlers can be thanked for keeping the score below 200, as Paterson was on a hat trick twice. He conceded just one run off the final over to finish with figures of 4-32.
Something that will be alarming for the South Africans is the lack of depth that they have when they rest their key players. With Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis all rested, this was a chance for Reeza Hendricks and JJ Smuts to step in and seize their opportunities. The curtains were quickly drawn on a disappointing series for Hendricks, who posted a duck to go with three and seven.
During the innings break Mark Boucher spoke of the need to get going and put the pressure on the bowlers immediately, as opposed to scoring singles and getting the eye in. Smuts laboured to 29 off 30 balls, which put too much pressure on the middle order.
Chris Morris was boosted to No 3 in an attempt to get some quick runs on the board, but that didn’t pay off, as he fell for eight before Miller completed his disappointing series with seven, Chris Jordan accounting for both of them to eventually finish with decent figures of 3-31.
De Villiers, comfortably the highest run-scorer in the series with 146, 39 runs more than anyone else, attempted to take the fight to the English with 35 off 19, but leg-spinner Mason Crane took his first international wicket to remove him, which spelled the end of the chase.
Phehlukwayo kept things interesting with Mangaliso Mosehle in a 54-run stand as the pair scored 27 and 36 respectively, but there were simply too many runs required, as they finished 19 runs short.