Reuters/Pretoria, South Africa
Captain Eoin Morgan scored a brilliant unbeaten 57 from 22 balls as England chased down a massive victory target of 223 to win the final Twenty20 International against South Africa yesterday and secure a 2-1 series triumph.
South Africa won the toss and posted 222 for six in their 20 overs, but man of the match Morgan crashed seven sixes in a 21-ball half-century to equal his own England record for the fastest fifty in Twenty20 cricket.
The visitors reached 226 for five with five deliveries to spare, the ball sailing through the Highveld air as 28 sixes were hit in the match, 15 by England, as they completed the fourth highest successful Twenty20 International run chase.
South Africa won the first match by one run and England claimed the second by two runs in a tight series ahead of the World Cup in Australia in October.
“It was a hell of a game, you have to commend both sides’ bowlers as it is not easy to bowl on a wicket like that,” Morgan said at the post-match presentation.
“When any side posts 222 it is a tough ask, but going back to the 2016 World Cup with this group of players, we chased down 230 against South Africa in Mumbai, so there was always that belief.
“It’s a nice note to leave this tour on, we have loved every minute of it. The cricket we have played has been so close between the sides and it has been hugely productive for us.”
South Africa’s innings was boosted by a powerful 66 from 33 balls by Heinrich Klaasen, before he picked out Ben Stokes at mid-off from the bowling of the impressive Tom Curran (2-33).
Opener Temba Bavuma, with 49 from 24 balls, gave the home side a fast start and David Miller (35 from 20) provided a strong finish.
England lost Jason Roy in the second over of their reply, but Jos Buttler (57 from 29) and Jonny Bairstow (64 from 34) put on 91 in 49 balls as the tourists kept up with the required rate.
Once they fell, Morgan, who also earned the man of the series award, took up the mantle, dealing only in sixes in a brilliant display of skill and power hitting, and making up for not seeing his side home in the first match in east London.
He was supported by Stokes (22 from 12) in adding 61 from 27 balls before the all-rounder was out with victory in sight as England completed their second highest Twenty20 chase.
“When we got here and saw the wicket we knew it would be high-scoring, we are just disappointed we didn’t get over the line. We felt our score was just over par,” De Kock said.
“As we get closer to the World Cup we are clearer in our plans and about who is putting up their hands.”
BRIEF SCORES: South Africa 222 for 6 in 20 overs (H Klaasen 66, T Bavuma 49; Curran 2 for 33, Stokes 2 for 35) lost to England 226 for 5 in 19.1 overs (Bairstow 64, Buttler 57, Morgan 57 not out; Ngidi 2 for 55) by five wickets.
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