Dawid Malan hit 78 on debut as England posted a competitive 181-8 in the T20 series decider against the Proteas in Cardiff.
When England were sitting on 125-1, needing 50 off 39 balls in Taunton on Friday, they wouldn’t have expected to go in to the third and final match in Cardiff with the series on the line. That was the reality after some fine death bowling from Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris.
A much-changed England side visited Sophia Gardens, and one of them was debutant and Paarl Boys’-educated David Malan, who made full use of his opportunity with some composed power hitting. He’s given his side a chance of winning the series, but the Proteas will fancy their chances too with the short boundaries and on a skiddy surface.
A couple of dropped catches let the visitors down a bit. The first one wasn’t too damaging as Mangaliso Mosehle’s drop off a tough skier from Jason Roy only led to eight more runs from the Durban-born opener. Morne Morkel (1-32) found the breakthrough, this after the Proteas sent England in to bat.
Alex Hales was let off the hook after Phehlukwayo (2-44) spilled a dolly when he was on 10, but that was the only blemish in a crushing 105-run stand with Malan. The debutant struck a six off his second ball and just kept going in assured fashion. He hit seven fours and two sixes as he brought up a fifty off 31 balls.
Malan would go on to post the joint-fourth highest score on debut with 78, level on Rilee Rossouw’s first knock against Australia in November 2014, but once Hales (36) and Malan departed in successive overs in the 13th and 14th, the bowlers had the last laugh, with Dane Paterson on a hat trick twice.
Only 47 runs came off the last six overs, thanks largely to some excellent death bowling from Paterson. He saw off Sam Billings (12) and Liam Livingstone (0) in consecutive deliveries. Jos Buttler teed off with 31 off 22, but Paterson would be responsible for seeing him off too, before bagging a fourth as he bowled David Willey for a golden duck.
Just one run came off the last over, as Paterson finished with figures of 4-32, for England to set the South Africans 182 for victory.
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