South Africa made a remarkable comeback at the County Ground, Taunton to steal a 3 run win from England. The hosts, backed by Jason Roy’s career-reviving fifty and Jonny Bairstow’s supporting act, were cruising towards a likely win but luck intervened rudely and changed the course of the match.
The Bairstow – Roy pair added 110 for the second wicket before Bairstow was snapped up by Morris and Roy was given out for obstructing the field. The South African seamers took full advantage of this opening and eventually restricted England for just 171 as opposed to South Africa’s first innings total of 174/8.
South Africa were put to bat first by Morgan earlier in the day in front of a sell-out crowd of 12,500. The Proteas could not put a dominating show as anticipated after the loss in the 1st game even though the final total on the board looked respectable. English bowlers found their way of getting their foot back in the game despite getting sidelined by the likes of JT Smuts (45 from 35 balls), AB de Villiers (46 from 20 balls) and Farhaan Behardien (32 from 21 balls).
After an ordinary start where opener Reeza Hendricks (7 runs in 8 balls) and Mangaliso Mosele (15 from 12 balls) walked out for cheap scores, JT Smuts and AB de Villiers carried the innings forward in an attacking fashion taking the team total to 84/2 by the end of 10th over before Smuts lost his wicket. England pulled themselves back with this breakthrough as Liam Plunkett got rid of dangerous David Miller and the well-set AB de Villiers was removed by David Willey to derail South Africa’s innings to a great extent.
Tom Curran later added more to the woes of the batting side with the wicket of Morris and Phelukwayo in the 19th over. But, Farhaan Behardien’s late burst provided a great relief to the batting side and ensured things did not go totally awry.
England’s response was sharp although they lost opener Sam Billings in the 2nd over. Roy and Bairstow combined and put England in a winning position before the unthinkable happened. The stand was broken as Bairstow was caught in the mid-on region by Behardien off Morris’ bowling in the 14th over.
Two balls later, the over changed and Roy put himself in danger for getting the way of a throw from Phelukwayo after being sent back by Livingstone while attempting a quick single. This mistake proves to be fatal for the chase. The run flow was suddenly squeezed and the hosts lost a bunch of important wickets in the form of Buttler, Livingstone and Morgan.
The game was still on and there was no clear winner till the penultimate over, however. England needed 9 runs to win the game with 5 wickets in hands. But, South Africa were eventually ended being successful in defending the total as Andile Phelukwayo did the necessary to restrict the opposition.
South Africa: 174/8 in 20 overs (AB de Villiers 46; Tom Curran 3/33)
England: 171/6 in 20 overs (Jason Roy 67; Chris Morris 2/18)
Man of the Match: Chris Morris