Tried to whack the ball too hard in IPL: Smith says his finesse is back
29 Nov 2020
England won the three-match T20I series against hosts South Africa thanks to a win in the second match played at Paarl. After Jonny Bairstow's heroics in the first game, it was time for Dawid Malan to step up and shine on this occassion. His 55 off 40 balls proved the decisive factor in a low-scoring match.
Once again, it was England that won the toss and, just like the previous game, they decided to chase. Despite a powerful start, thanks to their captain Quinton de Kock's 18-ball 30, South Africa had to struggle on a spin-friendly and slow pitch.
Both the Curran brothers, Tom and Sam struggled. But Jofra Archer was again effective with 1/18 in his four overs. Adil Rashid again showed his wiles, picking up two wicket for 23 runs in four overs. In the end, South Africa managed a score of 146/6 in their 20 overs. De Kock was the top-scorer while all-rounder contributed a valuable 29 at no. 7.
In reply, Malan shepherded his team with his determined knock. A quickfire 17-ball 26* from captain Eoin Morgan finished off the match for England, giving them the series victory with one match to go.
After his team's second consecutive loss in the series, de Kock felt his team lacked a bit of luck. "Dawid batted really well, the captain came in and led from the front. Once again the guys played well, just unfortunate for us. Makes you frustrated but that's the game, got to keep positive and keep learning," he said after the match.
Just like the last match, de Kock felt his team missed the mark by a small margin. "I came out and said 150 could be a good score. Just one or two small things went our way we could have won that game."
De Kock praised the performance of Tabraiz Shamsi who picked up 3/19 in the match. "Shamo was a bit disappointed with his last game. He wanted to make a statement and lead from the front, so I'm very happy for him."
On the other side, Morgan was thrilled with his team's victory. "We weren't up with the run rate we were a couple of nights ago. With a short boundary, you're only ever a big over away. Experience helps, holding your nerve. Today's performance was very pleasing. Everyone in the changing room will applaud the bowling unit. Everybody contributed," Morgan said.
Former England spinner Monty Panesar weighed in on England's performance and espcially praised Malan's efforts.
"Dawid Malan is surprised how he is T20 number 1 ranked batsmen , we see today under pressure, facing 150kph beaten for pace but he showed fight and skill to get England over the line," Panesar stated on Twitter.
South African cricket broadcaster Kass Naidoo also weighed in with her views.
"Dawid Malan has to rank as one of my favourite T20 batters. Love the way he effortlessly ups the tempo," she said.
Another tweet from her talked about the importance of spinners: "High point in a losing series is the battle between the spinners. Shamsi was brilliant today. Linde was in the spotlight in the first game. Good signs ahead of the T20 World Cup in India. What are your thoughts?"
Cricket writer Freddie Wilde weighed up the positives for South Africa.
"South Africa's bowling attack is shaping up quite nicely with Rabada, Nortje, Ngidi & Shamsi at its core; Linde's start has been encouraging & they've got Tahir & Morris technically available as well."
However, he also mentioned the problems faced by Proteas.
"This current team are short of boundary-hitters: the primary driver of T20 batting success. de Kock & du Plessis aside none of the rest of the batters are assured of a spot... South Africa are suffering from a number of brilliant—& in some cases elite—batters not playing: de Villiers is the obvious one but also Rossouw, Ingram, Delport & Wiese who dominate on the domestic circuit. Miller's absence is also leaving a hole."
With the series won, England may try out some new players while South Africa may try to figure out their best combination. The last T20I takes place on December 2 at Cape Town.
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