PROTEA FIRE

The Independent on Saturday - - FRONT PAGE - ZAAHIER ADAMS

ENG­LAND:

204/7 (Roy 40, Stokes 47*, Ali 39, Ngidi 3/48)

SOUTH AFRICA:

(De Kock 65, Van der Dussen 43, Jor­dan 2/31)

Eng­land won by 2 runs

DON’T take you eyes off the ac­tion in this pul­sat­ing T20I series for Eng­land and South Africa are pro­duc­ing high­value en­ter­tain­ment ev­ery night. Buf­falo Park on Wed­nes­day evening was a thriller. Kingsmead matched it for drama in ev­ery way.

The only dif­fer­ence be­ing this time it was Eng­land that snuck home by only two runs.

At the half­way stage South Africa needed to com­plete a record chase if they were to come out on top. Tom

Curran en­sured the hosts fell just short by hold­ing his nerve to de­fend 15 runs off the fi­nal six de­liv­er­ies that ul­ti­mately be­came three off the fi­nal ball.

Curran cer­tainly needs to be lauded for his brav­ery.

Proteas all-rounder Dwaine Pre­to­rius’ role in the T20I team had been ques­tioned af­ter the East Lon­don vic­tory af­ter he failed to bowl a sin­gle de­liv­ery.

But last night he showed his value with the bat as he blasted Curran for a six and a boundary in the fi­nal over to take the Proteas to the brink of a fa­mous vic­tory.

But that’s when Curran proved ice runs through his veins by firstly trap­ping Pre­to­rius LBW with a pin-point yorker be­fore hav­ing the gump­tion to send down a back-of-the-hand slower ball to new bats­man Bjorn For­tuin.

The tailen­der cheek­ishly at­tempted a lap shot, but only man­aged to find Adil Rashid at short fine-leg and the fairy­tale end­ing was crushed.

South Africa had been given the per­fect start to their chase by cap­tain Quin­ton de Kock.

The skip­per had seem­ingly left his team in the pound seats fol­low­ing a blitz that con­tained eight sixes and two fours.

In the process, De Kock raced to the fastest half-cen­tury by a Proteas bats­man in T20Is off only 17 balls. It eclipsed his own record of 21 balls that he shared with AB de Vil­liers.

Again De Kock had his lieu­tenant Temba Bavuma by his side with South Africa’s new open­ing pair fast de­vel­op­ing into a po­tent T20I open­ing part­ner­ship.

The duo com­pli­ment each other per­fectly.

De Kock ter­rorises the bowlers through his sheer power and de­struc­tive force, while Bavuma’s pre­ci­sion place­ment and speed be­tween the wick­ets adds a dif­fer­ent di­men­sion.

By the time they were sep­a­rated when De Kock held out to Ben Stokes on the square-leg boundary, South Africa had al­ready posted 92 off just 47 balls.

South Africa tried to stay with the rate by firstly pro­mot­ing David Miller (21 off 16 balls) to No 3 be­fore Rassie van der Dussen (43 not out off 26 balls) kept the home team’s hopes alive to the very end.

But ul­ti­mately it was South Africa’s own death bowl­ing that let them down on the night.

The Proteas de­fended 44 runs in the last five overs in East Lon­don.

Last night, they con­ceded 79 off the same amount of de­liv­er­ies as the radar went awry.

Ben Stokes (47 not out off 30 balls; 4x4, 2x6) started the party, but it was Moeen Ali that did the real dam­age. Hav­ing been part of the chaos that un­folded in the last over at Buf­falo Park, Ali came out guns blaz­ing.

The dashing left-han­der smoked 39 off only 11 balls (3x4, 4x6) that helped Eng­land set up a record chase at the Dur­ban ground.

It was the per­fect end­ing to an in­nings that had once again been set up by Ja­son Roy (40 off 29 balls) and Jonny Bairstow (35 off 17 balls).

The pair, who are now sep­a­rated by Jos Buttler, blasted a 52-run part­ner­ship for the se­cond wicket off just 25 balls.

The series is tied up at 1-1 head­ing into the de­cider at Centurion. If the last two matches are any­thing to go by, then another humdinger is on the cards.

| LEON LESTRADE ANA

FOOOOUUUUR­RR! The crowd at the se­cond KFC T20 In­ter­na­tional be­tween South Africa and Eng­land, at Hol­ly­wood­bets Kingsmead Sta­dium in Dur­ban yes­ter­day, was on fire, cheer­ing ev­ery boundary, run and wicket.

AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

GOT HIM: ANDILE Phehluk­wayo cel­e­brates bowl­ing Eng­land’s Jonny Bairstow in the T20 at Kingsmead in Dur­ban last night. Phehluk­wayo got two wick­ets but did prove ex­pen­sive go­ing for 47 runs in his four overs. |

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