The visitors England have levelled the three-match T20I series against the hosts, South Africa, after winning the thrilling second game by just two runs at Durban. While the Proteas captain Quinton de Kock scored the fastest T20I half-century in South African history, English pacer Tom Curran gifted the game to his team after holding the nerve in the last over.
After winning the toss, the hosts decided to field first. While England scored 204/7 (20 overs), South Africa replied with 202/7 (20 overs).
Quinton de Kock scored 17-ball fifty
South African openers Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock provided the firing 92 runs partnership for the first wicket. Captain and wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock completed his half-century in just 17 balls. It was the fastest T20I fifty by a South African batsman as captain de Kock broke the previous fastest record of 21-ball fifty by himself and AB de Villiers.
But after Quinton de Kock was dismissed on 65 runs off 22 balls (2 fours and 8 sixes), South Africa lost their next wickets at regular intervals. Another opener Temba Bavuma scored 31 runs while David Miller played the 21-run knock.
While Rassie van der Dussen was controlling the situation from one side, he was not getting support enough as the hosts were struggling on 158/5. At the late moment, Dwaine Pretorius played a firing cameo that brought them to closer the target.
Dussen and Pretorius had the 44 runs partnership for the sixth wicket. In the last over of the match, South Africa needed 15 runs to score. In that over, Pretorius hit a six and four to Tom Curran on the second and third ball respectively.
While South Africa had to score three runs off two balls, Tom Curran dismissed Pretorius (25) and Bjorn Fortuin (0) in back-to-back deliveries and snatched the two-run victory. Rassie van der Dussen remained not out on 43 runs off 26 balls (2 fours and 3 sixes).
Among the England bowlers, Tom Curran (2/45), Chris Jordan (2/31) and Mark Wood (2/39) bagged two wickets each.
Player of the Match Moeen Ali played a crucial cameo in England innings
In the first innings, after the England opener Jos Buttler (2) was dismissed cheaply, another opener Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow handled that situation very well. Roy scored 40 runs (29 balls), and Bairstow scored 35 runs off 17 balls.
Struggling on 125/5, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali set up a 51-run partnership for the sixth wicket. While Stokes was not out on 47 runs off 30 balls, Ali played the great cameo of 39 runs off 11 balls.
South African pacers Lungi Ngidi (3/48) took three wickets, and Andile Phehlukwayo (2/47) scalped two wickets.
The hosts won the first game of this series by just one run at East London. After the latest result, the series is standing with 1-1 with one game to go. They will play the T20I series decider on this Sunday (16th February) at Centurion.
Some crucial stats of the match: South Africa vs England
i) Quinton de Kock scored 17-ball half-century. It is the fastest T20I half-century in South African cricket history. The previous record was 21-ball fifty by AB de Villiers (against England at Johannesburg on 21st February 2016) and Quinton de Kock (against England at Mumbai on 18th March 2016) once each.