Eoin Morgan smashed 42 off 13 balls to signal a change in fortune as England beat South Africa A by 44 runs in a warm-up T20 in Paarl on Wednesday night.
It was ideal preparation for the tourists as they go into a two-match T20 series against South Africa, at Newlands and the Wanderers on Friday and Sunday; especially for the England captain, who struggled in the one-day series.
Morgan’s blitz, added to Alex Hales’ more sedate 78, took England to 202-6, which proved to be more than enough.
Faced with a run-rate of 10 an over, the A team put up a credible fight, despite losing Reeza Hendricks for one after four balls. Morne van Wyk (32) and Theunis de Bruyn (56 off 47) put on 88, taking the score to 91 after 11 overs at 8.5.
Normally, that would be a good rate, but by the time Van Wyk was dismissed by Chris Woakes, the run-rate had climbed to nearly 12.5 an over with nine to go. De Bruyn followed the following over, caught off the legbreak spin of Adil Rashid, and the mountain had become a precipice.
David Miller lasted eight balls before becoming the second of Rashid’s victims, stumped by Jos Buttler, having scored 10. While there was token resistance from Jon-Jon Smuts (30 off 25), SA A tumbled to 158-8 in the 20 overs.
Having won the toss, England had set out at pace, smashing 58 runs in the powerplay, for the loss of Jason Roy for 22 off 14. And that was boosted by a six off Andile Phehlukwayo, immediately before he was snaffled by the Dolphins paceman.
Hales, though, was on a roll, putting on 65 at almost 8.5 an over, to which James Vince contributed 22.
Hales’ 78 came off 52 balls, with nine fours and three sixes, while Jos Buttler (29 off 18) made a significant contribution.
But it was Morgan’s 13-ball cameo, which included five sixes and just one paltry four, that did the real damage. He became Wayne Parnell’s second of three victims, when England had a healthy 196 going into the final over. Parnell ended the best of the bowlers, conceding just 6.5 from his four overs.
Phehlukwayo could also take heart, following his excellent 6-27 haul against the Titans in the Momentum ODI series, taking 2-32 off four and reinforcing his potential. Beuran Hendricks though, was severely punished, going for 50 runs off three overs, as was left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, who surrendered 43 off three.