England seal series after another polished performance against poor Proteas
PAARL – There is less than a year to go until the next T20 World Cup in India.
Based on the evidence on display here yesterday, the Proteas still have a long road to travel.
Admittedly the Boland Park surface was not conducive to free-flowing T20 cricket, but South Africa just seem to be playing catch up cricket from a different age at the moment.
Whatever is happening in the modern game – and plenty is – South Africa need to board the bus.
Prior to the series coach Mark Boucher spoke about his team wanting to play "smart" cricket and that he and national convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang would choose the players required to play this brand.
Brilliant from this man today 💪 pic.twitter.com/9bpO2R9hrV— England Cricket (@englandcricket) November 29, 2020
If that was the memo previously it needs to be torn up because bold selections are required. All-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo's absence does grossly affect the team's balance on so many levels, but there still needs a greater emphasis placed on discovering players that are bold, intelligent and innovative.
It was England's blueprint after their disastrous 2015 World Cup and we all know what success they have achieved since changing their entire mindset.
There will always be those wanting to tighten the reins but this team needs to be given a license to thrill. If they fail along the way trying to achieve it, then everyone just needs to be patient.
England may only have won with one ball remaining, and with it a successive T20 series on South African soil, but crucially they were always in control. It always seemed that England were going along in a first gear, and if needed, they could put their foot down at any time.
Such is the abundance of riches England have at their disposal that yesterday's match-winner Dawid Malan, who just so happens to be the World No T20 ranked batsman, is not seen as a definite starter in the first choice line-up.
🏁 THAT'S THE GAME!— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) November 29, 2020
🏴 England win by 4 wickets
Another nailbiter sees England claim the victory and an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series pic.twitter.com/wut8GkaJ1q
Malan is, though, creating a genuine case to be undroppable going forward. It probably helped that he was returning to his childhood home ground for the classy left-hander certainly adapted to the conditions better than anyone on either team.
He was content to absorb the early pressure and remained unruffled during Tabraiz Shamsi's brilliant spell of 3/19 to take his team to the brink of victory. Crucially, he also identified the moment in the game when it was needed to taken by the scruff of the neck.
Lungi Ngidi had struggled all afternoon and with South Africa devoid of a sixth bowling option, the lanky paceman was called on to deliver the 18th over with England still requiring 29.
With Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje to deliver the final two overs, Malan realised South Africa had left the door open.
With the field up on the leg-side Malan moved across his stumps to create the angle to punish Ngidi over mid-wicket for a boundary. Ngidi was unlucky with the next ball as Malan edged it past Quinton de Kock for another boundary. However, the next ball was all Malan's brilliance when he drove Ngidi for six all the way into the Nederburgh Stand to bring up a well-deserved half-century.
Although Malan perished next ball for 55 off 40 balls, the damage had been done.
Earlier, South Africa had nobody of similar class and temperament during their chance at bat. They had again enjoyed a productive Powerplay, moving to 50/1 after six overs but the innings fell away after England leg-spinner Adil Rashid (2/23) found the conditions to his liking.
With the series over as a contest, Boucher and Co should look to spreading their net wide at Newlands in the final match of the series on Tuesday in a bid to to find players that can take this Proteas T20 moving in the right direction.
SA: 146/6 (De Kock 30, Linde 29, Rashid 2/23)
England: 147/6 (Malan 55, Morgan 26*, Shamsi 3/19)
England win by four wickets and series 2-0