Cape Town - Chris Morris produced the Midas touch for the second time in the space of three
matches to earn the Proteas a last-ball victory by three wickets over
England in the opening T20 international at Newlands on Friday
As it happened: Proteas v England, 1st T20
went into the last over needing 15 runs for victory - or 14 for a Super Over -
with Morris and Kyle Abbott, the pair who had produced the batting heroics in
the closing stages of the fourth ODI, together at the crease.
the right thing by getting a single off the first ball to clear the way for
Morris who went 4, 6, dot, 2 and 2 again to seal the deal.
Abbott should have
been run out off the last ball and one had to feel sorry for Reece Topley, who
has been consistently England’s best bowler in both limited overs formats, who
made a mess of the return to the bowler’s wicket before Abbott slid into his
ground on his stomach.
an end to a winning run for England of six successive T20 International matches
while the Proteas recorded their 50th T20 International triumph in
83 matches. They have now beaten England in 6 out of 10 matches in this format.
African victory was set up by Imran Tahir who got rid of the dangerous Alex
Hales with a catch by JP Duminy at backward square leg that included a
potentially disastrous collision between Duminy and Kagiso Rabada. Duminy
somehow managed to hold on to the catch and fortunately neither player was
mowed down the England middle-order, getting rid of Ben Stokes, Eoin Morgan and
Moeen Ali, the latter two with successive deliveries to match his career best
of 4/21 against the Netherlands. It was only a matter of a millimetre that
stopped him getting his hat trick with a delivery that completed deceived Chris
Jordan. Had he taken what would have been the third instance of a South African
taking five wickets in this format, there is no knowing to what level he would
have taken his famous celebrations.
South Africa might have had to hire a Uber taxi to go and fetch him!
Even with a
modest total of 134 England looked like pulling off a remarkable rearguard
action as the Proteas lost wickets regularly and struggled to score more than
six to the over. They looked to have won the match through the 36 runs Hales
and Jason Roy scored in their first 3 overs after they had been put into bat,
as they also scored only 98 runs in their last 17 overs.
But in the
end it was that man Morris who once again had the final say.
statistic of a match in this format was that no bowler went for more than
Morris’ 32 runs.
went into the match without Quinton de Kock who is being rested for this series
because of a minor knee injury that has been troubling him for some time. One
thing their selection did show is that they have a near perfect fielding
combination with plenty of men who are fast about the field and have strong
throwing arms. In the end that may have made the difference in such a close
named man of the match.
Newlands attracted a crowd of more than 19 000, taking their aggregate in seven days of international cricket this season to almost 125 000.