England put Proteas to the sword
Morgan’s blitz pushes up total before rain stops play
ENGLAND promised a fearless approach and they delivered in the opening Twenty20 here last night.
A thunderous, career-best 83 off 45 deliveries by Eoin Morgan alongside Paul Collingwood’s 32-ball 57 powered them to a daunting 202 for 6.
They overcame the shock of losing Joe Denly to the first ball of the match as initially Jonathan Trott, in his first innings against South Africa, began the fightback before Morgan and Collingwood combined in a nine-over onslaught that brought 98 runs. The pair managed seven sixes.
Collingwood needed 27 balls for this third Twenty20 fifty and Morgan 29 for his first in another reputation-enhancing display following an eye-catching Champions Trophy.
Morgan also finished the innings in style, an important area England have often faltered at, as he scored 29 off his last seven balls against Ryan McLaren and Charl Langveldt.
Those deliveries incorporated the full range of his strokes, including the lap over fine leg, drives through the covers and a mighty blow over deep midwicket.
Many of the crowd had barely sat down when Denly was walking to the pavilion having missed his whip to leg against Langeveldt’s opening delivery.
There was hint of the ball sliding down, but it did straighten late as Langeveldt found some swing.
That brought Trott to the middle for the most hyped homecoming since Kevin Pietersen four years ago and he was greeted by the predictable bouncer but certainly wasn’t fazed by the occasion.
He soon lost Alastair Cook, who missed a low full toss that would have taken leg stump, but Trott scored England’s first blow of the tour when he took Dale Steyn for four consecutive boundaries in his opening over.
Collingwood made his intent clear when he launched Albie Morkel for a leg-side six and despite the two early wickets England’s fifty was up inside the six-over Powerplay.
The team was certainly living up to the new positive approach instilled in Andy Flower and the absent Andrew Strauss. It wasn’t dull. Trott’s contribution was ended when he chanced a single to backward point and was beaten by a sharp return even though the bowler, Roelof van der Merwe, almost messed up trying to break the stumps.
However, England didn’t take a backward step.
Morgan has provided the middle order with the power for so long lacking in England’s limited-overs side and this display was another demonstration of his awesome striking ability.
One six over the leg side went out of the ground, off Steyn no less, leaving gasps of amazement from those watching.
Yes, the Wanderers is at altitude. Yes, the pitch had the pace and bounce batsmen enjoy. But it was a monumental blow.
He followed up by dispatching the struggling Morkel for 14 off three balls before Collingwood made it 21 from the 14th over with a thumping six over long on.
Graeme Smith made regular bowling changes, moved his field around all over the place, but was powerless to stop the onslaught.
Both Collingwood and Morgan reached their half centuries in the 15th over and by the time Collingwood carved out to deep cover the pair had added 98 in 9.1 overs.
Briefly South Africa slowed the charge with three wickets in 15 balls, but Morgan kept his head to regain the momentum. Rain interrupted play at a crucial stage with South Africa on 127 for three after 13 overs.
Although they were eight runs ahead of England at the same stage, they were one run behind the required Duckworth-Lewis score. If not further play were possible, England would win by one run. – Cricinfo
PROTEA PRUNING: England’s Eoin Morgan enjoys another six – with an anguished-looking Charl Langeveldt looking on – in his unbeaten innings of 85 at the Wanderers last night.