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#SAvENG: Newlands treated to thrilling SA win
Chris Morris scored 14 runs in the final over to hand South Africa the victory.
CAPE TOWN – Faf Du Plessis won the toss and elected to bowl in overcast condition at Newlands.
He might have been thinking it was the wrong decision for a few overs as the England openers got off to a flyer, cashing in on anything loose from the South African bowlers.
Alex Hales in particular looked set to continue his form from the ODI series as he cracked multiple boundaries in the power play.
His partner Jason Roy was the first to fall as Kagiso Rabada got him caught at midwicket with a well-disguised slower ball.
England were accumulating their runs at a prolific rate at the as the power play came to an end.
Imran Tahir was introduced into the attack and it paid dividends immediately, he got the danger man Hales for 27, which included 5 boundaries.
Next over all-rounder David Wiese supplied England with another body blow getting the wicket of Joe Root in his first over.
Suddenly the complexion of the match had changed after the fall of the three wickets with the home side now in the pound seat.
However, England still had captain Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes to give the innings another necessary injection of run.
However it was Tahir again who proved to be the ace up Du Plessis’s sleeve.
Stokes initially smashed Tahir for a four and a big six off consecutive balls but it was the passionate leggie who had the last laugh.
He had the threatening Stokes stumped off a wonderful googly.
Soon after that Tahir accounted for the hapless Morgan and with very next ball he sent Moeen Ali back to the changing room.
He nearly got his hat trick after bamboozling Chris Jordan with another well bowled googly.
England’s innings was in tatters at 81/6 but Jos Buttler and Jordan brought some sanity to it with a modest 25 run partnership.
Jos Buttler top scored with 32 off 30 balls for the tourists.
Fast bowler Kyle Abbott grabbed two wickets at the death to leave England at 134/8 in their allotted 20 overs.
Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers opened up for the Proteas and they got off to a flying start.
However, de Villiers was the first to go followed shortly after by Amla, leaving the home side at 35/2.
Du Plessis and JP Duminy rode their luck somewhat conjuring up a 41 run stand to place South Africa in a position where they were still favourites to win.
Duminy eventually fell for 23 bringing Rilee Rossouw to the crease alongside his skipper.
Du Plessis was next to go as he top scored for the Proteas with 25 off 30 balls.
The pattern of losing wickets at regular intervals continued as Rossouw and David Miller headed back to the pavilion although in fairness they both managed boundaries at crucial moments.
England were now well and truly in the match after looking dead buried at one stage.
Their willingness to keep on fighting whilst putting their body on the line in the field was rewarded when they found themselves in a position where they were now the favourites to win this enthralling encounter.
A theme of the last five overs was the perpetual shift in momentum as the two sides traded blows unwilling to give an inch.
The last over began with South Africa needing 15 runs with Kyle Abbott on strike, which was not ideal.
He managed to get an important single of the first ball to get Chris Morris on strike.
Morris then hit Reece Topley for a six and four to send the crowd into rapturous applause and swinging the momentum once more in the home sides favour.
The Proteas now needed 4 off 3 balls, very doable considering Morris lusty blows in the over.
Topley then produced a dot ball, England again saw an unlikely opening to win the game.
Four runs off two balls needed now, Morris chipped one straight down the ground and Abbott ran hard to get back safely to leave two runs to get off the last ball.
The crowd were sweating from the constant ebb and flow of the match, they waited on their feet in anticipation for the last ball.
Morris again hit straight and Abbott this time was struggling to make his ground as the throw came in from the boundary.
Fortunately for South Africa Topley fumbled the ball allowing Abbott to make his ground which meant they won the thrilling encounter by three wickets.
Morris once again showing his credentials as a quality pressure player and perhaps justifying his exorbitant IPL price tag.
South Africa lead the series 1-0 heading into the last match at The Wanderers on Sunday.