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Stokes, Wood shine as Eng­land snatch win from S. Africa

New Straits Times - - Sport -

BEN Stokes smashed a blis­ter­ing cen­tury and Mark Wood bowled an ex­cel­lent fi­nal over as Eng­land beat South Africa by two runs in the sec­ond one-day in­ter­na­tional in Southamp­ton on Satur­day for an unas­sail­able 2-0 lead in the three-match se­ries.

After Stokes’s hero­ics with the bat had helped Eng­land score 330 for six in their 50 overs, South Africa needed 10 runs from the last 10 balls of their in­nings with five wick­ets re­main­ing, but an ex­cel­lent fi­nal over from Wood that cost just four runs sealed vic­tory.

One worry for Eng­land ahead of the loom­ing Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy start­ing on Fri­day is that Stokes man­aged to bowl only three overs in the South African in­nings hav­ing in­jured his knee in the first ODI win, but he re­mained on the field.

“Those are the sorts of games you re­ally want to win,” Eng­land cap­tain Eoin Mor­gan said at the post-match pre­sen­ta­tion at the Rose Bowl. “You learn a lot more. The game got away from us quite a lot. Woody was awe­some.”

The vis­i­tors won the toss and elected to field, re­duc­ing Eng­land to 80 for three in the 16th over when Joe Root (39) was run out at the non-strik­ers’ end.

But Stokes (101 from 79 balls) put on 95 for the fourth wicket with Mor­gan (45) and 77 for the fifth with Jos But­tler (65 not out) be­fore he be­came a maiden ODI wicket on de­but for South African left-arm spin­ner Ke­shav Ma­haraj.

Opener Quin­ton de Kock (98 from 103 balls) led the South African re­ply be­fore he was caught by wick­et­keeper But­tler off Moeen Ali.

Cap­tain AB de Vil­liers pitched in with a flu­ent 52, but the in­nings looked to be fal­ter­ing un­til Chris Mor­ris (36 not out from 22 balls) joined David Miller (71 not out from 51 balls) in the 44th over.

The pair added 62 in 39 balls for the sixth wicket and looked as though they had won the game when they needed seven off the fi­nal over bowled by Wood (0-48 in 10 overs).

But the Eng­land seamer pro­duced an ex­cel­lent over of short­pitched slower balls and the pair could only man­age four sin­gles to see vic­tory slip away.

“I can’t be un­happy, we fought right to the end and prob­a­bly had it in the bag for most of that last half hour,” De Vil­liers said. Reuters

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