South Africa's confidence buoyed heading into second T20 against England
JOHANNESBURG – Winning a nerve-wracking first game would have done plenty to enhance a rebuilding South African unit's confidence, and they will now eye the prospect of a series win against one of the most dominant white-ball sides in the form of England in the second T20 in Durban on Friday.
Despite the dramatic victory, South Africa will know they have a few key areas to work on. Most notably, the middle-order, which, in the absence of Temba Bavuma who was promoted to open, looked a touch too inexperienced.
England will be keen to brush the first defeat as a mere aberration and return to winning ways come the second game.
As champions of the Cricket World Cup 2019 and finalists of the most recent T20 World Cup, they are one of the strongest white-ball sides at the moment. The one area they need most focus on, across formats, is against the tendency to collapse. On Wednesday, it was another such chapter which resulted in their narrow defeat.
England seemed to have the chase of 178 under control. At the end of the 17th over, they were sitting pretty at 150/4 with Ben Stokes and captain Eoin Morgan on strike.
Lungi Ngidi took care of one half of the threat in the 18th over by dismissing Ben Stokes with a newly-improved slower ball. When Morgan hit Beuran Hendricks for two fours and a six in the 19th over to leave England only seven to win off the final over, Ngidi scripted a dramatic closing act. He bowled a good mix of quicker and slower ones to dismiss Tom Curran and Moeen Ali to concede only five runs, and earn his side an unlikely victory.
Ngidi said: ”I guess it's a mental thing, to be able to finish off well in situations that require you to. It takes a lot out of your mental side. Physically, obviously I am trying as best as I can to get back to the pace that I was at, and to hit the areas that I am known for hitting.”
Morgan said: ”Experiences like this, particularly with a World Cup around the corner, are just so valuable to the team. I think we learn more about both sides when they get put a little bit more pressure.”
The pitch in Durban tends to be slightly on the slower side when compared to most other South African wickets, which could make Ngidi's slower balls a little more difficult to pick out.
The weather is expected to be pleasant with negligible chances of rain.
African News Agency (ANA)