England debutant Dawid Malan’s hard-hitting 78 on Sunday helped the hosts to a 19-run victory over South Africa in their Twenty 20 international in Cardiff to secure a 2-1 series win.
The 29-year-old left-hander, who was born in London and brought up in South Africa, blasted 78 from 44 balls, including 12 fours and two sixes, as England, whose captain Eoin Morgan was rested, made 181-8.
South Africa were never really in the run chase, especially after captain A.B. de Villiers was caught in the deep by Alex Hales off the spin of Mason Crane for 35, leaving his team at 82-4. They eventually fell short on 162-7.
Chris Jordan picked up three wickets for England, who will be delighted to have won the series while also blooding new talent.
One of those prospects, Crane, was delighted to have kept his nerve while facing a pounding from De Villiers.
The South Africa captain carted him for two sixes and a four before holing out and giving the 20-year-old his first wicket in international cricket, but it was Malan who did the most to boost his chances of forcing his way into the England team on a longer-term basis, showing enormous confidence as he smashed his second ball over mid-wicket for six.
Malan has had to wait for his ability to be rewarded by the England selectors, but he showed that, even when the likes of Joe Root and Ben Stokes return to the side, he could be a very useful option.
“I didn’t think [the chance] would ever come, but nice to show what I can do. It’s tough, but you try and keep things in perspective and wait for an opportunity,” Malan said.
Jos Buttler, who stepped in as captain in the absence of Morgan, was full of praise for Malan.
“Dawid batted on a different wicket to the rest of us, made it look really good on debut. All the best teams have very good players missing out, with injuries, and with guys coming in there is pressure on you, you feel like you need to perform and it was a fantastic show of character from Dawid Malan,” Buttler said.
In Port of Spain, Trinidad, Ajinkya Rahane’s third century and a blistering assault by captain Virat Kohli took India to a comfortable 105-run victory over the West Indies in the second one-day international at the Queen’s Park Oval.
Replying to the visitors’ formidable total of 310-5 in a match reduced to 43 overs per side due to rain, the hosts were restricted to 205-6 in reply, despite a fluent 81 by Shai Hope at the top of the order.
Following the rain-ruined no result at the start of the series at the same venue, India take a 1-0 lead into the next two matches in Antigua on Friday and Sunday.
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