No.1-ranked T20I batsman Dawid Malan struck a composed 55 from 40 balls to help guide England to T20I series victory over South Africa in Paarl.
Despite restricting the hosts to 146/6 from their 20 overs, England found it hard going in their chase but Malan and skipper Eoin Morgan (26*) ensured they reached their target with just one ball to spare.
With some big boundaries to reach, South Africa started the contest well as they raced past 30 early in the fourth over but Temba Bavuma played onto his stumps as Jofra Archer made the breakthrough.
Quinton de Kock was next to go, dismissed for 30 for the second game running, as Tom Curran did well to take the catch while back-pedalling, giving Chris Jordan his 65th T20I wicket – putting him level with Stuart Broad as England Men’s highest-wicket taker in the format.
Most wickets for Full Members in men's T20Is:— ICC (@ICC) November 29, 2020
🇱🇰 Malinga 107
🇵🇰 Afridi 98
🇧🇩 Shakib 92
🇦🇫 Rashid 89
🇳🇿 Southee 81
☘️ Dockrell 76
🏴 Broad/JORDAN 65 👏
🇿🇦 Steyn 64
🇮🇳 Bumrah 59
🌴 Bravo 59
🇦🇺 Watson 48
🇿🇼 Cremer 35#SAvENG pic.twitter.com/lkJigdsJtD
Adil Rashid then bowled Reeza Hendricks for 16 to claim his 50th T20I victim, and with the first ball of the 11th over he had Faf du Plessis stumped to leave the Proteas reeling at 75/4.
Tom Curran then removed Heinrich Klaasen (seven) and with the hosts unable to hit a boundary between the 10th and 18th overs, England turned the screw.
Rassie van der Dussen (25*) and George Linde (29) tried to piece together a competitive total but with impressive figures from Archer (1/18), Rashid (2/23) and Jordan (1/29), England constricted the hosts to 146 and would’ve been delighted with their efforts in the field.
Morgan’s men started steadily in their reply and South Africa thought they’d got an early breakthrough when Jason Roy, struck on his right ankle, was given out LBW from Anrich Nortje’s first ball back in international action. However, England reviewed the decision just in time, with cameras showing that the ball was going down leg. Roy wasn’t able to capitalise though as he skied Lungi Ngidi to Klaasen and perished for 14.
Malan then entered the crease, having not hit a fifty in his last three T20I innings – his worst streak in the format.
Buttler (22) struck three consecutive fours off Ngidi to finish the Powerplay nicely but Tabraiz Shamsi came into the attack and bowled a beauty to remove the opener in his first over. In Shamsi’s second over he removed England’s hero in the first T20I, Jonny Bairstow, as he was caught in the deep by Hendricks, and at the halfway stage England were struggling at 59/3.
Shamsi thought he had Ben Stokes trapped in front in his third over, unsuccessfully reviewing the decision. But the South Africa spinner didn’t have to wait too long to get his man, as despite the England all-rounder blasting a big six the ball before, he skied an easy catch to De Kock. Shamsi finished with superb figures of 3/19 in his four overs.
South Africa were looking to become the first team to defend a total of 146 or below against England in a T20I since 2017 – and only the second team to do so since 2015 – but Malan and Morgan managed to find the boundary at crucial times to keep England in the hunt.
When needing 29 off three overs, Malan hit Ngidi for a two, two fours and a six, before landing another big blow towards the fences – only for an athletic Hendricks to pop the ball back into play as he was stepping over the rope, and jump back in to catch out the England batsman.
Morgan held the fort and despite Rabada bowling Sam Curran with three needed in the final over, Jordan saw England over the line to give them a 2-0 series lead ahead of Tuesday’s third and final game of the series in Cape Town.
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