South Africa 207 for 3 (Rossouw 96*, Hendricks 53) beat England 149 (Shamsi 3-27, Phehlukwayo 3-39) by 58 runs
South Africa unfurled a near-perfect short-form display to beat England by 58 runs in Cardiff, squaring the T20I series ahead of Sunday’s decider at the Ageas Bowl.
England were poor in the field, with wayward lines and lengths, and a variety of fielding errors. Gleeson was able to make amends for dropping Hendricks around the corner at fine leg for 51 by taking the right-hander’s wicket in the next over. However, Buttler’s grounded catch down the leg side off Rossouw – who had just 37 – was far more costly.
The final three wickets fell for just eight, the last of them, Richard Gleeson, off the back of a DRS call seemingly taken on a whim by the fielding side. As with everything else in the match, it went South Africa’s way.
But the prodigal son is now a man, and his innings here typified an underlying sense of maturity to his game. It was particularly evident against those he didn’t target: Reece Topley started well to him and the off spin of Moeen Ali was always going to be tricky for the left-hander to go after. But he struck well against Gleeson, Jordan and particularly Adil Rashid, taking 18 runs off the nine deliveries he faced from the legspinner. But for Stubbs chewing up half of the final over, Rossouw probably would have reached a maiden international T20I hundred. Nevertheless, off the back of a stunning Vitality Blast season for Somerset (623 runs at a strike rate of 192.28), it’s abundantly clear the 32-year-old is making up for lost time.
Right-hand, left-hand – overthinking?
It’s nothing new, and in this instance was down to the disparity between the two square boundaries. With the leftie Rossouw batting through the innings from the fourth over, David Miller waved a procession of right-handers through, including Stubbs who came in ahead of the stand-in captain. Similarly, Bairstow was held back for Moeen to enter at No.4 in England’s innings after Dawid Malan had fallen. Then, when Moeen himself was dismissed for an enterprising 28, Sam Curran came in at six ahead of Liam Livingstone.
None of them really came off, though the reasons for the promotions were totally justified given the form of Stubbs (72 off 28) and Moeen (52 off 18) from the night before. Not to mention the fact that Bairstow was in by the ninth over anyway, and Rossouw was always going to come in at No.3 to accompany Hendricks. On this occasion, it was a tactic that made a lot of sense but did not produce any tangible reward.
The bad news is it looks like it may just be another opportunity to fail. Since a century in the final ODI against Netherlands in Amsterdam, Roy has struggled to get going on home soil. Barring a 41 in the third ODI against India, he has struggled to get the measure of the white Kookaburra ball, occasionally showing flashes of timing amid plenty of mishits and lapses in judgement.
The issue that affects Roy more than others is aesthetics: his very nature is to go after attacks, and it is counted as an upside of his character that, even when struggling, he never shies away from a battle. That, however, means in the midst of this kind of run, he looks like a man pushed into the corner swinging haymakers with his eyes closed.
Vithushan Ehantharajah is an associate editor for ESPNcricinfo
#Rilee #Rossouw #Tabraiz #Shamsi #seal #emphatic #series #leveller #South #Africa