England captain Eoin Morgan on Sunday went on a six-hitting spree to take his side to a series win in a high-scoring third and final Twenty20 international against South Africa at SuperSport Park.
Morgan slammed seven sixes in an innings of 57 not out off 22 balls as England chased down South Africa’s 222-6 with five wickets and five balls to spare.
“It’s a nice note to leave this tour on,” Morgan said.
However, the England skipper had sympathy for the bowlers on a day when a capacity crowd were peppered with 28 sixes as the batsmen took advantage of a true pitch and the thin air of the South African highveld.
“It was a helluva game,” Morgan said. “You have to commend both sides’ bowlers. It’s not the easiest ground to bowl on, especially with a wicket like this.”
Heinrich Klaasen, playing in his first match of the home international season, hit 66 off 33 balls for the hosts after Temba Bavuma (49) and captain Quinton de Kock (35) hammered 84 for the first wicket off 46 balls.
“When any side posts 220 it’s a tough ask, but going back to the 2016 World Cup with this group of players we chased down 230 against South Africa in Mumbai, so we always had this belief,” Morgan said.
Jason Roy was out early, but Jos Buttler (57) and Jonny Bairstow (64) put on 91 off 50 balls for the second wicket to put England in a strong position.
However, 78 runs were still needed off 38 balls when Dawid Malan was fourth out with the total on 145.
Ben Stokes joined Morgan and the pair added 61 off 27 balls, before Stokes was caught on the boundary with 17 still needed off 11 balls.
Morgan hit two sixes off successive balls from Lungi Ngidi and the contest was effectively ended.
Morgan was named Man of the Match and Man of the Series.
“We knew it would be a high-scoring game, but we’re a bit disappointed not to get over the line,” De Kock said. “We had mixed emotions [after the first innings], the guys were confident, but we knew it was a great wicket.”
In related news, Faf du Plessis yesterday quit as South Africa captain across all three formats of the game, but remains available for selection, Cricket South Africa announced.
Du Plessis said that he wanted to take a step back from captaincy to allow a new generation of leaders to develop in the side. He was rested for the Twenty20 series and replaced by De Kock.
“As the team heads into a new direction with new leaders and a young crop of players, I feel it will be in the best interests of South African cricket to relinquish the captaincy in all formats,” Du Plessis said. “This was one of the toughest decisions to make, but I remain fully committed to supporting Quinton [de Kock].”
Additional reporting by Reuters
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