18th over: England 155-5 (Morgan 37, Moeen 2) Target 178 This was all so very much in hand for England with Roy and Morgan ticking over doing largely as they pleased. Not now! Moeen is off the mark with a nice square drive for a couple to finish the outstanding Ngidi over, but just five runs were earned from it. He’ll definitely be responsible for over No20. England need 23 from 12 balls. Whisper it… Super Over? Nobody tell my 40-week pregnant partner.
WICKET! Stokes c Miller b Ngidi 4 (England 152-5)
There it is! Ngidi, after sending down three excellent deliveries, wins a mistake from Stokes with another slower ball. At just 115kph, the all-rounder had to make all the pace and drilled a catch down the throat of Miller at long-on.
17th over: England 150-4 (Morgan 35, Stokes 3) Target 178 Hendricks has a big job from his 12 balls at this end. But Morgan, with all his experience, knows the best way to mess with that is to take him on and does it with power, waiting for the slower ball to arrive and slapping it straight back over his head for four. He has the strike back for the final delivery of the set – will the captain go again? Of course he does! It’s a second boundary to complete the over, this time hooking carefully over his shoulder to the fine leg rope. 11 off it makes England’s equation 28 from 18.
16th over: England 139-4 (Morgan 26, Stokes 1) Target 178 Stokes off the mark down the ground to keep the strike. Five runs and the wicket from Phehlukwayo’s over, the all-rounder finishing with 2/32 from his four. Ngidi for the death overs?
WICKET! Denly c van der Dussen b Phehlukwayo 3 (England 137-4)
Well, then! Denly charges at Phehlukwayo and slaps a catch straight to the sweeper at deep midwicket. Great modern cricket, the slower one doing the trick. Yes, Stokes is walking out to join Morgan – the perfect pair for this – but they still have a fair bit of work to do here. Game on, just about.
15th over: England 134-3 (Morgan 24, Denly 1) Target 178 With Hendricks, despite being in the team as a specialist seamer, the best he can hope for is bowling overs 15, 17 and 19. Odd captaincy. Of course, he took a five-for on Test debut just a few weeks ago, so his confidence will be up. As for England, they have made a change to their batting order, Honest Joe Denly walking to the middle instead of Stokes in order to retain the right/left combination. He’s off the mark first ball but wears a short one to finish, smashing him in the shoulder. Excellent stuff. Before Roy fell, he hammered the left-armer away for four through midwicket, so they still end up with six off the over. It leaves the visitors 44 to get from the final five overs.
WICKET! Roy c Ngidi b Hendricks 70 (England 132-3)
How’s he managed that? Hendricks, finally into the attack, bowls a slower ball bouncer waaay outside the off-stump and Roy tries to pull it over square leg. Instead, a top edge ends up in the hands of Ngidi at short fine leg. A flicker of hope for the home side with the superstar opener on his way after 70 in 38 balls.
14th over: England 128-2 (Roy 66, Morgan 23) Target 178 Shamsi beats Morgan on the cut with the first ball of his final over. David Lloyd is a tad critical of the spinner on telly for not calling upon any delivery apart from his legbreak. It’s that stock ball beating Roy’s inside edge, the bowler up for an enthusiastic lbw appeal, but it is turned down and de Kock doesn’t deem it worthy of a review. One left in his spell and Morgan backs himself in off the back foot, muscling a long hop through midwicket for four! Eight off it, leaving 50 from 36 balls. Spot on.
13th over: England 120-2 (Roy 65, Morgan 17) Target 178 Right, so QdK throws the ball to Steyn, this his fourth and final over. It’s a big call and the hosts need it to pay off but it doesn’t, Roy instead picking up from where he left off against the higher pace, clipping expertly through midwicket for four. What timing. England need 58 to win from 42 balls with two set men in the middle. They’re one big over away from this being game over. The Proteas, by contrast, have to remove both of them in the next ten minutes or so. Steyn finishes with 1/33 in his comeback game.
12th over: England 113-2 (Roy 60, Morgan 15) Target 178 Shamsi is giving it plenty of air and enough of a rip to beat Morgan’s outside edge. Given the threat he poses, they are happy enough collecting singles, including a quick one to cover from the last ball. Both sides were 113 after 12 overs but South Africa had a shocker towards the end. England should really do this easy with the required rate at 8.3 an over.
11th over: England 107-2 (Roy 56, Morgan 13) Target 178 Phehlukwayo looks the man most likely to Roy, with pace off the ball banging it in halfway. But Morgan doesn’t mind, carving hard behind point and getting four for it. Yes, it wasn’t far from Bavuma’s diving right hand but he hit the cover of it. And the skipper goes again to finish, helping a very poor delivery outside the leg stump down past the man at short fine leg away for a second boundary. A handy moment for a big over.
10th over: England 95-2 (Roy 54, Morgan 3) Target 178 Evidently Morgan was also wearing the lighter blue pads in the ODIs. What a guy! This is leadership. Like the old MCC tours when they would wear any number of different bits of kit when representing England. Shamsi, meanwhile, sends an over down without a boundary. That’s two on the trot for the home side. Now they need wickets.
9th over: England 92-2 (Roy 53, Morgan 1) Target 178 Morgan is off the mark first ball with a single, the one delivery left in the successful over. Technology shows that Bairstow was right not to review as it was clipping leg stump. Far more importantly: has anyone seen the pads Eoin Morgan is batting in? He’s gone rogue!
WICKET! Bairstow lbw b Phehlukwayo 23 (England 91-2)
The all-rounder slips past Bairstow’s inside edge and the big appeal is successful! He was a long way across to the legside but they elect not to review.
Roy to 50 in 22 balls!
8th over: England 87-1 (Roy 51, Bairstow 21) Target 178 Shamsi on for his first over of wrist spin with a vital role to play with England currently cruising towards their target. He has to slow this down with wickets and fast. Oh, and he nearly does get Roy’s too, a top edge to a reverse sweep looping over the head of de Kock but there’s nobody there on the circle. YJB has an unsuccessful swipe too, lucky to get an inside edge on a delivery that would have cleaned him up. But Roy ensures the visitors finish with a bang, slapping another boundary past squre leg. To 50 he goes with that fifth four, along with three sixes. Hitting doesn’t get much better.
7th over: England 78-1 (Roy 45, Bairstow 18) Target 178 Phehlukwayo is into the attack with his nagging little medium pacers and slower balls. With the field out, YJB takes on the sweeper van der Dussen at deep backward point, making his ground by inches after an accurate throw. Super cricket from all involved. It’s a timely tidy over until the last ball, Roy getting down on one knee to hoick it over fine leg for four. He has his 45 from 19 balls, in case you were wondering.
6th over: England 68-1 (Roy 39, Bairstow 14) Target 178 Making room for himself, Roy hits Ngidi’s first ball for SIX MORE straight over his head! To prove that he’s more than muscle alone, the Surrey superstar then gets onto the front foot and clips past midwicket, beating the man inside the ring for four more. To the final delivery of the power play… surely he swings at it, surely he swings at it… nup, he takes the single behind square, Ngidi’s slower ball on the mark. South Africa were also 68/1 at the end of their power play – nice. England need just on 8RPO to win.
5th over: England 55-1 (Roy 27, Bairstow 13) Target 178 Sorry about the delay on the previous post, wifi issues, but I’m sure if you are an England fan you will have enjoyed what you read. Bairstow wants to go with his ODI partner and does just that to begin, twice steering Steyn behind point for four to begin. Such good batting from England. They end up with ten off it. Your turn again, Jase. Have fun!
4th over: England 45-1 (Roy 26, Bairstow 4) Target 178 Roy has spent most of the innings watching so far so he makes the most of the strike, having a big old pop at the spin of Smuts second ball. It just goes the journey, Miller able to take the catch at long-off but he’s already over the rope. Of course, Roy goes again… it’s nowhere near as convincing but in the power play, after clearing extra cover, still worth four runs. AND AGAIN! This is by far the best of the three, stand and deliver over long-off for SIX! It smashes into the commentary box. Magnificent. Again? Naturally! Down the ground, hammered past the spinner for four more. Whoa. A couple behind square to finish makes 22 from the over. Welcome, Jason!
4th over: England 23-1 (Roy 4, Bairstow 4) Target 178 Roy has spent most of the innings watching so far so he makes the most of the strike, having a big old pop at the spin of Smuts second ball. It just goes the journey, Miller able to take the catch at long-off but he’s already over the rope. Of course, Roy goes again… it’s nowhere near as convincing but in the power play, after clearing extra cover, still worth four runs. AND AGAIN! This is by far the best of the three, stand and deliver over long-off for SIX! It smashes into the commentary box. Magnificent. Again? Naturally! Down the ground, hammered past the spinner for four more. Whoa. A couple behind square to finish makes 22 from the over. Welcome, Jason!
3rd over: England 23-1 (Roy 4, Bairstow 4) Target 178 In comes Jonny Bairstow at number three and he has to keep a beauty out to begin, a slower ball that lands right on a yorker length. Steyn stays on the mark until the final ball when he gives YJB a chance to get off the mark with a loose ball on the pads, flicked away for four behind the man stationed at short fine leg. Still, the end of a successful over.
WICKET! Buttler c Miller b Steyn 15 (England 19-1)
Steyn gets him! Buttler tried to slap him over cover but didn’t get much of it at all, giving the easiest of chances to Miller on the circle at mid-off. A big moment.
2nd over: England 18-0 (Roy 3, Buttler 15) Target 178 Bit of a philosophical debate going on with Buttler at the moment as England move towards the T20 World Cup: bat him up top or during the toughest period at the death? A good piece here breaking that down by Ben Jones over at the Cricviz factory. Ngidi keeps him quiet with three quality dots to start this over before the vice-captain again jumps across his stumps to take a couple through midwicket to keep the board ticking. Ohhh, that’s more like it to finish… a fearsome pull shot to the rope. The sound it made off the bat! Blimey! Nobody was stopping that. Klusener-esque. Seven off it.
1st over: England 11-0 (Roy 2, Buttler 9) Target 178 Both openers are off the mark with singles to begin, Steyn immediately up over 140kph. “Gee,” Mike Haysman swoons on the telly, “he has such lovely rhythm.” Too right he does. Oh, what a shot from Buttler, a gloriously timed square drive through point without an inch of footwork. Bolstered with confidence after that stroke, he shuffles across to whip the great fast bowler over midwicket for four more. There’s a bit of confusion to finish with a single ultimately not taken but they are safely back in their ground.
The players are back on the field. Steyn it is. 36 years of age; an absurd record. He hasn’t played for South Africa for a nearly a year but here he is. What a guy. PLAY!
Steyn v Roy? Or spin from the get-go? England threw the ball to Moeen first up, I wouldn’t be surprised if de Kock does something similar, especially with the wind. The risk, of course, is that Buttler takes full advantage of that with the field up.
Fair old comeback that. South Africa were flying at 105/1 at the halfway mark, well on their way to 200-220. But the visitors took 7/72 from the second half of the innings, now left 8.9 an over to take this opening rubber. Rashid and Moeen were spot on with their spin, both going at less than a run a ball. Stokes and Wood played their part with wickets at important times before Jordan delivered a quite outstanding death over. Bavuma top scored with 43 off 27 and five other South Africans got a good start but the wickets did the job slowing the run rate.
SOUTH AFRICA FINISH ON 177-8 (WICKET! Phehlukwayo run out 18)
Steyn deals nicely with the hat-trick delivery, helping a ball on his pads past the man at short fine leg and down to the rope. With a slap from the next, he’s off strike. Phehlukwayo’s turn with two balls to go – can he get underneath one? Not from the fifth delivery he doesn’t, unable to get another magnificent Jordan yorker away. What a bowler this bloke is. Righto, final ball of the innings… and nailed the yorker again! They run anyway, Phehlukwayo is run out at the non-stikers’ end. Three wickets and five runs from the 20th over. Brilliant. England need 178 to win.
20th over: South Africa 177-8 (Steyn 5)
WICKET! Hendricks b Jordan 0 (South Africa 172-7)
EVEN BETTER! Jordan skittles him first ball with the perfect delivery, shaping away a treat. Off-stump is cartwheeling once more. And he’s on a hat-trick.
WICKET! Pretorius b Jordan 1 (South Africa 172-6)
Bowled! Swing and a miss, off-stump out of the ground. Perfect death bowling.
19th over: South Africa 172-5 (Phehlukwayo 18, Pretorius 1) What a great call from Morgan throwing the ball back to Wood after he was smashed to all parts earlier on. It’s worked a treat, his speedster getting him a wicket and going for just three runs. Job done. Now, they’re some chance of keeping South Africa under 180.
WICKET! Smuts c Stokes b Wood 20 (South Africa 170-5)
Morgan needed Wood to find him a wicket to get a new player out there and he’s done precisely that, a leading edge from Smuts carrying to Stokes at mid-off.
18th over: South Africa 169-4 (Smuts 20, Phehlukwayo 16) BIIIIG from Phehlukwayo! Jordan went for his shorter slower ball off-cutter but the left-hander saw it coming, rocking back into his crease before popping him 50 metres over the boundary. Have that. Sure enough, Jordan is right on the money either side of this with his fuller balls, deceiving Smuts then beating Phehlukwayo. A good contest, nine coming from the over. South Africa still have to find a way to 190-plus.
“Hi Adam.” Hello, Jon Salisbury. “Roy’s fielding seems to mirror his batting- blinding catches or pretty ordinary misses with concentration AWOL a feature.”
Yup, there’s a reason why he was the man they wanted at deep midwicket during the Super Over of the World Cup Final. At his best, few better in the sport. But, as you rightly identify, drops a fair few chances along the way as well.
17th over: South Africa 160-4 (Smuts 19, Phehlukwayo 8) Stokes followed a very good over with a not very good one, giving Smuts a delivery to swing at through square leg for four before overstepping – a sin at this stage of a T20. Phehlukwayo doesn’t take full advantage of the free hit but they still finish with 12 from the set.
“Evening Adam.” Simon McMahon, hello to you. “I think the sponsors are missing a trick by not having one team in white, the other black, with string ties in national colours, and goatee beards all round. Let’s hope the game is a zinger, eh?”
Yes, it’s not a great look. Then again, in Australia during the Big Bash League the kids are given a KFC bucket to put on their heads when they walk into the ground.
16th over: South Africa 148-4 (Smuts 11, Phehlukwayo 7) Phehlukwayo knows the drill here, making room first ball to swing hard at Curran and getting plenty of it, over long-off for SIX! He hits a wonderful long ball. Smuts’ turn, jumping well outside the leg stump before slapping another slower one through midwicket into the gap – four more. So, after losing a wicket first up they get 13 from it. Top stuff.
WICKET! Miller c Jordan b Curran 16 (South Africa 141-4)
There it is, the Tom Curran Slower Ball working for England. Miller tried to lift him over the rope at long-off but was early on it. Jordan didn’t miss his chance to make a proper gem of catch look easy when running back with the flight of the ball.
15th over: South Africa 135-3 (Miller 16, Smuts 5) Stokes mixes up his lengths and pace well enough to prevent either batsman from getting a proper swing in. Morgan will happily take seven from the over at this stage. Between overs, the host broadcaster cuts to an interview inside a KFC container. As you do.
14th over: South Africa 128-3 (Miller 13, Smuts 2) Rashid’s turn to stick the landing and he’s so close to doing so when Smuts skies him waaaay into the sky but Roy can’t complete the catch. By the standards these fielders keep in short-form cricket, that wasn’t a difficult chance. Earlier in the over, Miller deployed his reverse sweep and struck it just well enough to record a boundary. Another compelling leg before shout to finish to Smuts… denied! Gosh, it looks very out on the TV replay; that failed review earlier on really has hurt England. Rashid finishes with 1/23 from his four overs. Beautifully done. He dragged this right back.
13th over: South Africa 118-3 (Miller 5, Smuts 1) This has been far from a perfect fielding performance from England, Roy fumbling after diving this time around, but the slow bowling has been excellent. Just five from Moeen here, all in coins rather than notes, giving him figures of 1/22 from his four overs.