A late fightback from the Proteas saw England restricted to 171 all out in the 2nd T20 international at the Wanderers on Sunday.
Over 27 000 people packed into The Bullring to see if the Proteas could wrap up the two-match T20 series against England, and they’ll have to work hard to do so as Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan put on a 96-run stand to guide their side to a competitive total, despite a flurry of wickets late on.
After winning the toss Faf du Plessis decided to put England into bat again after chasing down their total in dramatic, last-ball fashion at Newlands on Friday. It’s a pitch that promised runs, so only time will tell as to whether England’s total was a good one or not.
It was an innings that saw fortunes change on regular occasions, as Jason Roy was dropped at short cover by JP Duminy with the very first ball of the match. It didn’t prove too costly, however, as Kagiso Rabada and Kyle Abbott bowled very well in their opening spells, and the pressure paid off as Roy was bowled by Rabada for nine, the ball after Rabada struck him on the helmet.
Joe Root then played a handful of fearless strokes to get the English back on track, which eventually had to come to an end as the introduction of Imran Tahir in the 8th over paid dividends, David Miller catching Root in the deep for 34.
Skipper Eoin Morgan, short of form, walked out under a bit of pressure, and that pressure mounted when he ran out Alex Hales (16), stopping him halfway down the pitch as he thought about going for a second run that wasn’t there.
Morgan made up for that, however, in a lethal partnership involving Buttler. The 13th over went for 17 runs as they took the attack to David Wiese, who disappointed with figures of 0-40 from his three overs. They continued to punish the bowlers as Buttler brought up his fifty off just 27 balls, fittingly with a six off Abbott.
It was at that point that it all went wrong for England. 200-plus was a realistic aim until Buttler and Morgan fell in consecutive deliveries. Buttler was caught thanks to a sharp take from Du Plessis, before Morgan was ran out in unlucky fashion, as Ben Stokes slapped one straight back to Abbott, who got his fingertips on it before smashing into the stumps with Morgan out of his crease.
All in all, the last seven wickets incredibly fell for just 14 runs in a complete collapse that saw Abbott take three wickets, Morris two and Rabada one. From 157-3 to 171 all out, the Proteas will have their tails up in a chase that could have been far mor challenging.