EAST LONDON: Fast bowler Lungi Ngidi took three wickets in his last two overs as South Africa snatched a thrilling one-run win in the first Twenty20 International against England at Buffalo Park here on Wednesday night.
Jason Roy and captain Eoin Morgan hit half-centuries for England and they looked well on the way to chasing down South Africa’s total of 177 for eight.
But the match changed dramatically in the last three overs as England lost six wickets for 24 runs to finish on 176 for nine.
England needed seven from their final seven balls with five wickets remaining, but collapsed in the face of Ngidi’s off-cutters on a slow wicket to add five runs for the loss of four wickets.
“You run in as hard as you can and hit your length. All of a sudden their team was on the back foot,” said Ngidi who was named man-of-the-match for his 3-30. “It was a very fast-paced game, but it’s about how you bounce back. I didn’t panic under pressure, they seemed to be cruising but my job was to get wickets.”
In the last over Ngidi dismissed Tom Curran and Moeen Ali, while Adil Rashid was run out off the last ball, trying for an improbable second run which would have tied the scores.
He couldn’t beat a calm return from midwicket from veteran fast bowler Dale Steyn.
South Africa captain Quinton de Kock pointed out both teams struggled to score freely towards the end of their innings as the ball got softer and the bounce lower.
“It was quite interesting towards the end there, but we knew if we stuck to our basics as a bowling unit we could end up winning,” de Kock said at the post-match presentation. “This wicket gets tough to bat on in the last five overs and the way we went about it really pleased me.”
Meanwhile, Morgan observed such thrilling games would help in team-building for the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia later in the year.
“It was an outstanding game of cricket,” The England skipper remarked. “Experiences like this, particularly with the [T20] World Cup around the corner, are so valuable. Both teams were under pressure. Both teams gave it everything.
“Losing by one run you always think you can make it up somewhere along the line, but I thought in all three departments we could have made up more than that.”
Both innings followed a similar pattern. Both teams scored 68 runs in the first six-over power play and both had scored 113 runs after 12 overs before slowing down in the closing overs.
Opening batsman Roy was brutal in reaching his fifty off 22 balls on the way to scoring 70 off 38 deliveries with seven fours and three sixes.
Morgan seemed set to take his team to victory, hitting Beuran Hendricks for two fours and a six in the penultimate over before holing out off the last ball of the over after making 52.
Earlier, de Kock (31) and Temba Bavuma (43) got South Africa off to a fast start, putting on 48 for the first wicket off 26 balls.
Rassie van der Dussen (31) joined Bavuma and the pair added 63 for the second wicket off 41 deliveries before Van der Dussen fell to Ben Stokes and the innings lost momentum.
T. Bavuma c Moeen b Rashid 43
Q. de Kock c Denly b Moeen 31
H.E. van der Dussen c Bairstow b Stokes 31
D.A. Miller c Jordan b T. Curran 16
J.T. Smuts c Stokes b Wood 20
A.L. Phehlukwayo run out 18
D. Pretorius b Jordan 1
B.E. Hendricks b Jordan 0
D.W. Steyn not out 5
EXTRAS (B-2, LB-5, W-3, NB-2) 12
TOTAL (for eight wkts, 20 overs) 177
FALL OF WKTS: 1-48, 2-111, 3-113, 4-135, 5-170, 6-172, 7-172, 8-177.
DID NOT BAT: T. Shamsi, L. Ngidi.
BOWLING: Moeen Ali 4-0-22-1; T.K. Curran 3-0-41-1 (1w); Wood 3-0-32-1 (1nb); Jordan 3-0-28-2; Adil Rashid 4-0-23-1; Stokes 3-0-24-1 (1nb, 2w).
J.J. Roy c Ngidi b Hendricks 70
J.C. Buttler c Miller b Steyn 15
J.M. Bairstow lbw b Phehlukwayo 23
E.J.G. Morgan c Bavuma b Hendricks 52
J.L. Denly c van der Dussen b Phehlukwayo 3
B.A. Stokes c Miller b Ngidi 4
Moeen Ali b Ngidi 5
T.K. Curran c Miller b Ngidi 2
C.J. Jordan not out 0
Adil Rashid run out 1
EXTRAS (LB-1) 1
TOTAL (for nine wkts, 20 overs) 176
FALL OF WKTS: 1-19, 2-91, 3-132, 4-137, 5-152, 6-171, 7-173, 8-175, 9-176.
DID NOT BAT: M.A. Wood.
BOWLING: Steyn 4-0-33-1; Ngidi
4-0-30-3; Smuts 1-0-22-0; Phehlukwayo 4-0-32-2; Shamsi 4-0-25-0; Hendricks 3-0-33-2.
RESULT: South Africa won by one run to lead three-match series 1-0.
UMPIRES: A.T. Holdstock (South Africa) and B.P. Jele (South Africa).
TV UMPIRE: A. Palekar (South Africa).
MATCH REFEREE: D.C. Boon (Australia).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Lungi Ngidi.
SECOND MATCH: Durban (N), Friday.
THIRD MATCH: Centurion (D), Sunday
Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2020