England set up a thrilling finale to their T20 series against South Africa after beating the hosts in Durban. The clash at Kingsmead was similar to the opening one in East London, but it was Eoin Morgan’s men who held their nerve on this occasion and prevailed by two runs. This was England’s first ever T20 international win in Durban after having lost their two previous games at this venue to India and New Zealand during the 2007 World Cup.
Here are our talking points from the clash.
Redemption for Moeen Ali and Tom Curran: The villains of the first game at Buffalo Park ended up being the heroes at Kingsmead. Ali’s stunning 39 off 11 balls allowed England to cross 200 when it appeared that they would just about limp to 170, and Curran held his nerve by defending 3 from the final two balls.
Quinton de Kock excellent: Matching Ali shot for shot was South African skipper Quinton de Kock. Easily the most talented batsman in this Proteas lineup, the SA skipper smashed 65 off 22 to give his side a fine start. The rest of his team mates aren’t quite at his level batting wise, as was evident in the way they struggled after his departure, and it appears that captaincy is doing him no harm.
Should JJ Smuts be batting higher?: Smuts plays in this side because he is also a capable bowler, but wasn’t required to turn his arm over here. His 13 (12) was damaging to the Proteas cause in the middle of the innings and undid all the good work done by De Kock at the top. In his defence, Smuts is an opener and not a middle order batsman, but it appears that South Africa appear to be lacking in power hitters that can smash the ball from the word go. England have plenty of them, but the Proteas don’t.
Dwaine Pretorius nearly pulls it off: Pretorius’ control and change of pace allowed South Africa to choke England in the middle overs (he went 3-0-17-1 when nearly everyone else went for 10 an over), and he nearly pulled off a stunning chase with his 25 (13). It wasn’t quite to be for the Lions all-rounder, but this was an impressive all-round performance from him.
Proteas a batter short?: As mentioned above, South Africa need to re-assess the balance of their side. A player like Pite van Biljon or Marco Marais or even Wihan Lubbe could lend some much needed power hitting to this side. There’s de Kock, and at a lesser level David Miller, but the rest aren’t destructive batsmen- certainly not in the mold of Roy, Buttler, Ali and Bairstow.