South Africa need 331 runs to win the second ODI and level the three-game series against England.
The second match of this series has followed a similar pattern to the first. South Africa won the toss and put England into bat. They did reasonably well to limit the hosts in the first 30 overs, but then lost their way in that crucial period between the 35th and 50th over.
On Wednesday at Headingley, the Proteas leaked 102 runs during the final 10 overs. On this occasion in Southampton, they conceded 111 in this period. Once again, South Africa’s substandard bowling and fielding has put the batting lineup under pressure.
Ben Stokes battled against debutant Keshav Maharaj initially, and was put down while he was on 0 twice. The Proteas came to regret those dropped catches as Stokes moved to 50 off 48 deliveries. Thereafter, Stokes shifted gears, taking just 30 more balls to surpass the 100-mark.
Kagiso Rabada removed England opener Jason Roy with a lightning-quick delivery earlier in the day. The fast bowler also accounted for England captain Eoin Morgan, who scored a century in the first ODI, in the 33rd over. The latter was an important breakthrough for South Africa, as it forced Stokes to play in a more circumspect manner while he waited for Jos Buttler to settle at the other end.
Yet, Stokes would not be contained for long. The England all-rounder smashed Maharaj for consecutive boundaries in the 36th over. Skipper AB de Villiers and his bowlers appeared to have no answers as England continued to score freely. The hosts went into the final 10 overs with 219 runs on the board and the significant advantage of having six wickets in hand.
Stokes was caught on the boundary shortly after reaching his century. This did little to check England’s charge during the latter stages of the innings, though. Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali punished some wayward bowling and ensured that England posted a formidable total.
England 330-6 (50 0vers) – Ben Stokes 101, Jos Buttler 65 not out, Eoin Morgan 45, Kagiso Rabada 2-50
South Africa need 331 runs to win
England: 1 Jason Roy 2 Alex Hales 3 Joe Root 4 Eoin Morgan (c) 5 Ben Stokes 6 Jos Buttler 7 Moeen Ali 8 Adil Rashid 9 Liam Plunkett 10 Jake Ball 11 Mark Wood
South Africa: 1 Quinton de Kock 2 Hashim Amla 3 Faf du Plessis 4 AB de Villiers (c) 5 David Miller 6 Farhaan Behardien 7 Dwaine Pretorius 8 Chris Morris 9 Andile Phehlukwayo 10 Kagiso Rabada 11 Keshav Maharaj
Photo: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images