In the year of T20I World cup , the standard of T20 cricket is being taken to another level by England and South Africa as they played two outstanding and thrilling T20 games of cricket to kickstart their T20 series on a rousing note. While the Proteas won a gripping thriller by 1 run at East London, it was England’s turn to peep South Africa to the post by the barest margin of 2 runs at Durban. Put into bat first the tourists went off to a ripping start through Jason Roy (40 off 29 balls) and Johny Bairstow (35 off 17) as they matched each other stroke for stroke while England looked threatening . There was a minor hiatus towards the middle till Ben Stokes (47 off 30) and Moeen Ali (39 off 11 balls) came out all guns blazing to pile on the agony for Proteas, Moeen was brutal as he flogged around the Protea bowling with gigantic sixes as England reached an imposing 204 in 20 overs banking on Mooen’s late assault.
However the Proteas hit back hard as Bavuma (31) and Decock in particular went off like firecrackers as the ball was frequently getting deposited into the stands. Decock was in menacing touch as he toyed with England bowlers for his blazing 62 off 22 balls with 8 monster sixes mixing his elegance with brutal power. He was threatening to make it a Quinton Decock show till one big hit too many brought his demise and that slightly opened the door for England. Miller and Smuts could not make their batting count as England gradually worked their way back . Van Dussen(43notout of 26 balls) and Protorius (25 off13) threatened to take South Africa through but quality fast bowling from Mark Wood (2/39) and Chris Jordan (2/31) applied the brakes and Van Dussen was not getting much strike at the end. However in the last over of Tom Curran , with 16 needed Pretorius hit a 6 and 4 to increase blood pressure amongst fans. However he was lbw soon after and and a wicket off the last ball with 3 needed sealed the match in favour of England in a sensational finish. Moeen for his impact innings was the man of the match with teams now 1-1 after 2 thrilling games.
1st T20I : Ngidi’s brilliance wins it for Proteas
It was a sensational T20I game at East London as South Africa scored 177 batting 1st helped by a britzkreig by skipper Quinton Decock (31 off 15 balls) at the top and a splendid 43 from Bavuma. Decock hammered the English bowlers to give South Africa a rollicking start. However though there were useful cameos from VanDussen (31) , Smuts (20) and few others down the order, the Proteas could go no further than 177. In reply England looked to have things under control with Jason Roy (70) playing a typically blistering innings at the top aided by Bairstow (23) and later Morgan (52 off 34 balls ) was appearing to run away with the game till a late order collapse , rattled England and with 7 needed to win off last over, Ngidi was brilliant, after his comeback from injury , having dismissed Stokes earlier ,he used subtle variations of pace and swing to dismiss Curran and Moeen (bowled off inswinger) in a tension filled last over which culminated in a final ball runout to take South Africa to a 1 run win in sensational finish. Ngidi for his matchwinning 3/30 off 4 overs was the clear man of the match.
With the series now 1-1 , the fans cant wait for the decider at Centurion. It has indeed been a memorable series so far.