The Proteas crumbled to late pressure imposed by England captain Eoin Morgan and all-rounder Ben Stokes en route to a five-wicket defeat in Sunday’s third and final T20I at SuperSport Park in Centurion.
The result gave England a two-one series win. South Africa had won the first T20I at Buffalo Park in East London. England had triumphed in the second at Kingsmead in Durban by two runs.
Pursing a staunch target of 223, the English moved to 226 for five with five deliveries to spare.
The tourists’ successful response was powered by half-centurions Morgan, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow – and a closing cameo from all-rounder Ben Stokes.
The Proteas’ performance in the field was marred by dropped catches from fielders Temba Bavuma and Dwaine Pretorius.
Earlier, the recalled Heinrich Klaasen struck a brisk 66 from 33 deliveries, reminding the national selectors of some big-hitting ability ahead of this year’s T20 World Cup in Australia. The score was the second-highest of his punctuated T20I career, falling narrowly short of the 69 gathered against India at the same venue two years ago.
Klaasen’s half-ton was preceded by openers Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma’s dominance. De Kock struck 35 to Bavuma’s 49.
The former was particularly severe on seamer Chris Jordan, whose opening over conceded three successive sixes. Bavuma ensured England’s decision to open the bowling with spinner Moeen Ali didn’t reap early reward.
Stokes dismissed De Kock and batsman Rassie van der Dussen with slower deliveries, cleverly varying pace in relatively flat conditions.
The left-handed David Miller was ultimately at hand to cap a final total of 222-6, despite the quick losses of all-rounders Pretorius and Andile Phehlukwayo.
De Kock had won the toss and opted to bat first. Fast bowler Dale Steyn returned to the Proteas XI at the expense of left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks. Klaasen replaced all-rounder Jon-Jon Smuts. England retained opener Buttler – and replaced the ill Joe Denly with batsman Dawid Malan.
South Africa will host Australia for three T20Is and as many ODIs later this month.
South Africa: Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, David Miller, Rassie van der Dussen, Heinrich Klaasen, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Dale Steyn, Bjorn Fortuin, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi.
England: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Jordan, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood.
Photo: Gallo Images