Dawid Malan’s 55 from 40 balls at Paarl was his eighth T20I half-century
Dawid Malan’s classy half-century steered England to a four-wicket T20I victory over South Africa in Paarl and clinched an unassailable 2-0 series lead.
The left-hander, back on the ground where he made his first-class debut as a youngster with Boland, led the way with a calm knock of 55 from 40 balls as the tourists chased down their target of 147 off the penultimate delivery.
Malan shared a fifth-wicket stand of 51 from only 27 balls with skipper Eoin Morgan to steady his side’s nerves after Proteas spinner Tabraiz Shamsi had put them under pressure at 83-4 on a sluggish pitch.
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That had raised the home side’s hopes of defending their modest total of 146-6, but Morgan’s measured effort of 26 not out from 17 proved just enough to guide England across the line.
Put in to bat for the second time in three days, the Proteas made a sound start through Quinton de Kock (30) and Temba Bavuma (13), only for the latter to be castled by a straight delivery from Jofra Archer (1-18).
Tom Curran’s agile catch, back-pedalling at long on, to dismiss De Kock off Chris Jordan, halted South African momentum and the innings was stifled further by Adil Rashid’s impressive four overs on the spin.
Reeza Hendricks (16) attempted to hit the leg-spinner through the leg side, with the ball turning to rattle his off stump and take Rashid (2-23) to the landmark of 50 T20I wickets.
Adil Rashid took 2-23 to pass 50 international T20 wickets
That became 51 at the start of Rashid’s next over as Faf du Plessis (11) was tempted down the track, lost his footing and was left stranded while Jos Buttler took off the bails.
With boundaries drying up entirely for eight overs, only some powerful late hitting by George Linde (29 from 20) allowed South Africa a fighting chance of posting a competitive total.
Linde added 44 from 32 balls in tandem with Rassie van der Dussen (25no) before he was run out attempting an optimistic third on the back of a misfield and the home side eventually scrambled to 146-6.
George Linde’s knock of 29 gave the South Africa innings impetus as they reached 146-6
Both openers were handed early lives when England replied, with Jason Roy taking a whack on his trailing ankle from Anrich Nortje’s full toss, although the original lbw decision was overturned on review.
In the same over, Buttler miscued to mid-on, where the diving Kagiso Rabada spilled the chance, and the batsman began to capitalise on that let-off, hitting Lungi Ngidi for three successive fours.
However, England were soon wobbling as Roy (14) holed out to Ngidi before Shamsi (3-19) prised out both Buttler (22) and Friday’s hero, Jonny Bairstow (three) in the space of four balls.
South Africa spinner Tabraiz Shamsi (L) finished with his best T20I figures of 3-19
Ben Stokes (16) was fortunate to survive an lbw appeal by Shamsi and celebrated by slog-sweeping him for six – but tried to repeat the shot next ball and the resulting top edge gave De Kock a routine catch.
Morgan relieved the pressure, though, hooking Ngidi for six and he and Malan picked their shots carefully as they kept on top of the required rate, steering their side steadily towards the target.
Malan reached his half-century with a crisp drive back over Ngidi’s head for six – but he was caught on the boundary next ball after a deft juggling act by Hendricks and it was left to Morgan and Jordan (3no) to seal the win.
Watch the third and final T20 international, in Cape Town, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 3.30pm on Tuesday.