After putting England in on a cloudy day at Lord’s, it took South Africa new-ball bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell just five overs to send six of the hosts’ batsmen back to the hut. It was just the kind of performance England didn’t want ahead of their ICC Champions Trophy opener, and just the kind South Africa were looking for. 0-2 down in the series, the visitors had everything to play for in the third and final match of the three-ODI series.
The conditions were ideal for swing bowling and Rabada and Parnell made most of what was on offer. Four out of the top five England batters were out fishing at deliveries they should have shouldered arms to. Rabada in particular bowled to a brilliant channel and had a nice shape going his way. Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler failed to even enter double digits and England were in all sorts of trouble at 20/6. The horror outing could have been worst if Jonny Bairstow wouldn’t have chipped in with a gritty fifty.
With David Willey and debutant Toby Roland-Jones, Bairstow put up crucial stands and pushed the total over the 150-run mark. While Bairstow and Willey stand had a cautious approach, Roland-James injected life into the innings with a flurry of boundaries. The debutant hit five boundaries and one six, and gave spectators little to cheer about during what was a dismal England outing with the bat.
Set a modest 154-run target, South Africa signalled early intent as openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock put on a 95-run opening stand, at a brisk pace. In the process, Amla broke Virat Kohli’s record and became the fastest to 7000 ODI runs. He also is the fastest to 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000 and 6000 ODI runs.
England bowlers did fight back with quick wickets of Amla, de Kock and Faf du Plessis but not enough runs to defend didn’t trigger panic in the opposition camp. AB de Villiers and JP Duminy steered the side to win, and gave them much needed momentum ahead of the Champions Trophy opener.
England 153 all out: Bairstow 51; Rabada 4/39, Maharaj 3/25. South Africa 156/3; Amla 55, de Kock 34; Ball 2/43