There was just no answer from the Proteas bowlers as England clinched the Twenty20 International series with a brilliant five-wicket victory over South Africa at Supersport Park in Centurion on Sunday.
England chased down the mammoth total of 223 set by South Africa, ending on 226 for five with Jonny Bairstow (64), Jos Buttler (57) and man of the match and man of the series Eoin Morgan (57 not out) leading their side to a 2-1 series victory to end their summer tour on a high after winning the test series 3-1 and sharing the one day international series.
The Proteas bowling attack had no answer with Bairstow, Buttler and Morgan striking 13 maximums between them with the England captain equalling his own record for reaching a T20 fifty, needing just 21 balls.
Morgan and Ben Stokes (22) took the game away from the home side by taking by clubbing 52 runs off the 17th, 18th and 19th overs with Lungi Ngidi (4-0-55-2) and Andile Phehlukwayo (3.1-0-34-1) being the ones to suffer. South Africa made the perfect start when dangerman Jason Roy (7) was brilliantly caught by Tabraiz Shamsi at third man off Ngidi but Bairstow and Buttler then took control.
The pair smashed 91 runs off only 50 deliveries for the second wicket to launch England’s mammoth chase before Shamsi claimed his second catch in the same position, this time off Dwaine Pretorius (4-0-40-1). With England 128-2 at the end of the 12th over, Shamsi (3-0-40-1), who had conceded 36 runs in his first two overs, then claimed the wicket of Dawid Malan (11) before Phehlukwayo clean-bowled Bairstow to give South Africa a slight advantage.
But then Morgan and Stokes smashed 61 runs off 27 balls to take the game away from the hosts and despite Stokes being caught by Beuran Hendricks, who was on the field for Temba Bavuma, on the square leg boundary off Ngidi.
Pretorius then put Moeen Ali (five not out) down at short fine leg off Ngidi but then Morgan smashed two sixes to all but end the contest. Ali then clubbed Phehlukwayo’s first ball of the final over for four to seal the match, the series and the tour.
Earlier, Heinrich Klaasen, in for Jon-Jon Smuts, produced a wonderful innings of clean-hitting, smashing four boundaries and four sixes in a 33-ball innings of 66. The Proteas had been given the perfect start after Quinton de Kock had won the toss and decided to bat first with De Kock and Bavuma smashing 84 runs for the first wicket off only 46 deliveries.
De Kock (35) smashed one four and four maximums off 24 balls while Bavuma (49) cracked four boundaries and three sixes, also off 24 balls to get the home side off to a fast start. But De Kock and Bavuma were dismissed by Stokes (4-0-35-2) and Adil Rashid (4-0-42-1) within a few balls while Rassie van der Dussen (11) fell cheaply to leave the home side stuttering.
But Klaasen and Miller (35 not out) then 64 off 36 balls for the fourth wicket to resurrect the charge with Klaasen dominating the partnership as Miller struggled to score 10 runs off his first 10 balls. Once Klaasen was caught by Stokes on the boundary off Tom Curran (4-0-33-2), Miller came to light.
Despite Pretorius (11) and Phehlukwayo (1) falling cheaply, Miller struck three boundaries and two sixes to lift South Africa way past the 200-run mark. But the second highest total at Supersport Park was just not enough as England passed the total with five balls to spare.