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England wins game of sixes at Centurion to beat South Africa 2-1 in T20I series

Morgan blitzkrieg escorts England

It was a slogathon at Centurion in the 3rd T20I as on  a placid pitch nearly 450 runs were scored and 28 sixes were hit which proves beyond doubt that the conditions were a graveyard for the bowlers.  There was entertainment in abundance with a flurry of 6s and 4s but taking away one crucial aspect of the game does make any format in cricket , monotonous after a while. The administrators need to address this issue at some stage to keep the overall  standard of the game alive else there will be a time when no young aspiring cricketer will like to take up the profession in cricket called bowling. As for the match, England came out all guns blazing in pursuit of South Africa’s total of 222. Though Roy (7) fell cheaply, Bulter (57 off 29 balls) and Bairstow (64 off 34) looked menacing as they smashed the hapless South African bowling attack to set up a strong platform in the first 10 overs. After their exit , enter Ewin Morgan , and it was a carnage as the England captain blazed away with 7 sixes as he knocked off the target with effortless ease hitting 57 notout off 22 balls to get the man of the match award. Stokes played a blinder (22 off 11 balls ) and Moeen hit the winning boundary as the South African bowlers were clueless on how to defend 222 in conditions resembling a batsman’s den. The match ended with 5 balls to spare and hence did not have the last over thrill of the earlier two games. Earlier , opting to bat first in the decider, the Protea openers Decock and Bavuma launched a fierce onslaught on the England bowling right from the first over. Bavuma in particular played cracking shots all round the park including a fiercely hooked six  of a 145 kph bouncer from a pacy Mark Wood. Decock slaughtered Wood for 3 blistering sixes off 3 successive deliveries. It was absolute carnage and the duo rapidly added 84 for first  wicket in 7.4 overs after which Decock 35 off 24 balls) and Bavuma (49 off 24) were out in quick succession.  However ,England’s hopes of squeezing the runrate was shortlived as Klaasen(66 of 33 balls) went after the English bowlers with spectacular strokeplay all round the park to maintain the momentum and once he was out,  David Miller (35no off 20 balls) rediscovered some of his old touch to put on the finishing touches with powerful strokes to take South Africa to an imposing 222/6 in 20 overs. Amidst the carnage ,Stokes (2/35) and Curran (2/33) were the two  lesser affected English bowlers in their 4 over spells. The rest of the bowling  figures from either side had a sorry reading. In a series dominated by batsmen , Morgan with 136 runs in 3 games was the player of the series. Bairstow (122 runs) , Roy (117 runs) for England and Decock (131 runs) , Bavuma (129 runs) for South Africa were other major scorers in the series. It was sorry state of affairs on the bowling front with Ngidi being the highest wicket taker in the series (8 wickets) but at a very high economy rate. With the T20 World cup 7 months away , England appears to have a settled team overall with a fine array of brutal strokeplayers who can win matches on their own. The bowling also seem to have the right blend,with few allrounders thrown in making it a team which can bat deep. Currently they look the team to beat. South Africa seems to have found a good opening pair and a couple of decent middleorder options. However bowling options and plans are still a work in progress. They will be playing Australia next , which should give them more ideas on their team composition.

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Amitava Mukherjee

A commerce graduate with work experience in Banking sector. An avid sports enthusiast. Big fan of soccer cricket and tennis

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