England secured a two-wicket victory over South Africa to square the three-match one day international series 1-1 at the Imperial Wanderers in Johannesburg on Sunday.
The visitors were cruising on 232 for four with just 25 runs away from their target of 257 before Lungi Ngidi (9-2-63-3) and Beuran Hendricks (10-0-59-3) grabbed three quick wickets to leave the visiting dressing room with a few nerves with still 16 runs to get.
Ngidi kept the flutters going as he had Adil Rashid (2) edging to Quinton de Kock behind the stumps with only five runs to get. But Moeen Ali (17 not out) kept his composure and put those nerves to bed, guiding his team to 257 for eight with 40 deliveries still in the bank.
England’s chase was given the most blistering of starts thanks to Jonny Bairstow (43) and Jason Roy (21) as the pair blasted their way to an opening stand of 61 off just 42 deliveries with Bairstow smashing six boundaries and three sixes from only 23 balls. But it was the young talent of Lutho Sipamla (9.2-1-42-1) that broke the stand when Bairstow flicked the right-arm fast-medium bowler straight to Andile Phehlukwayo square of the wicket on the leg side.
The break was a welcome relief after Ngidi and Hendricks were slaughtered in the opening exchanges but captain De Kock’s task was not made any easier thanks to a total of 13 wides being bowled in the innings. The opening wicket brought about two more as Hendricks claimed the wickets of Roy and Eoin Morgan (9).
But then Joe Denly (66) shared in two important partnerships, first adding 76 for the fourth wicket with Joe Root (49) and then 70 for the fifth wicket with Tom Banton (32) to get their side close to the target, before England lost four wickets for 25 runs. Denly was superb, as he had been in Cape Town, striking six boundaries and three maximums from 79 balls while Root struck three fours in his 52-ball stay.
Earlier, David Miller struck four boundaries and four maximums from 53 balls to boost South Africa’s total to 256 for seven after Morgan had won the toss and asked the home side to bat first. South Africa struggled with a pitch that, surprisingly, offered quite a bit of turn to the England spinners with Rashid (10-0-51-3), Ali (10-0-42-1) and Root (7-0-42-0) causing the Proteas batting line-up some worry.
Man of the series De Kock was rather patient up front, striking five boundaries and two sixes from 81 deliveries before being castled by Rashid for 69. The early loss of Reeza Hendricks (11) left De Kock and Temba Bavuma (29) to find the same form that saw the pair add 173 for the second wicket in Cape Town. But with the pair looking set, Rashid struck, trapping Bavuma in front.
Man of the match Rashid felt he had Rassie van der Dussen (5) the very next ball, also trapped leg before, but with the confusion surrounding Bavuma’s review, the umpires decided that because not all the DRS technology was available, that South Africa did not lose their review. So Van der Dussen reviewed his decision successfully but seven balls later was bowled by Ali.
The day at the crease was made clear when Jon-Jon Smuts (31) was run out after a mix-up with Miller, just as Smuts was looking to step up a gear. Phehlukwayo managed just 14 runs from 31 deliveries before becoming Rashid’s third victim. Hendricks (3) was run out trying to get Miller back on strike before Sipamla, who had a great day out, contributed 10 runs to the unbroken 52-run stand for the eighth wicket with Miller to give the Proteas something to bowl at.
The teams now turn their attention to the three-match T20 series which begins on Wednesday in East London, before returning to Durban on Valentine’s Day and then rounding off the tour next Sunday at Supersport Park in Centurion.
**as published on www.supersport.com**