Dawid Malan replaced captain Eoin Morgan in England line-up for the all important decider against South Africa in the third T20 international. But, the debutant did not let England feel the absence of their captain as he cracked 78 runs to play a crucial part in his team’s 19-run win over South Africa.
England, with the win in Cardiff, won the three-match series 2-1. They had won the three-match one-day international series with the same margin before the Champions Trophy.
Jos Buttler arrived at the toss in place of Morgan but it was AB de Villiers who won it and decided to bowl. His decision proved to be right when Morne Morkel had Jason Roy caught behind on the final ball of the second over.
Alex Hales was slow and Malan was on his debut. But, the latter cracked a stunning six over deep square-leg to get off the mark in international cricket. Hales supported Malan in his innings and both shared a 105-run stand for the second wicket.
They both came together when England were 13 for the loss of one wicket and were separated when Hales was dismissed by Phehlukwayo. Malan was impressive as he played some excellent shots.
He took Morkel for a straight six and brought up his fifty with a scoop over short fine-leg off Imran Tahir. Not once did had nerves of a debut match. Hales played second fiddle to him.
After the departure of both Malan and Hales, South Africa made a good comeback in the game. They gave only 42 runs in last five overs and picked up five wickets as well. Dane Paterson was twice on a hat-trick but failed to achieve the feat both teams.
South Africa never looked in the game as they lost two early wickets. AB de Villiers and JJ Smuts provided some firepower but one Smuts was dismissed, the Proteas fell behind.
De Villiers took 16 runs off first three balls with a four followed by two sixes off spinner Crane’s over but the spinner had the last laugh. De Villiers tried repeating it but was caught by Hales on the ropes. Crane’s wild celebration after first international wicket was a sight to watch.
South Africa lost the plot after that. Phehlukwayo and Mangaliso Mosehle did try to pull off a miracle but England bowlers were too good to let the game go away after removing the top order.