SAvEng: De Villiers downs England with a blitzkrieg: Having won the five-match ODI series 3-2, South Africa re-established their supremacy over England in the shortest version of the game, winning the two-match series 2-0.
Chasing 172 runs for a victory, there was virtual ‘blood bath’ at The New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, with the Proteas openers, AB de Villers and Hashim Amla going ‘hammer and tongs’ behind the English bowlers.
The duo stayed together for 8.2 overs and established a partnership of 125 runs for the first wicket, scoring at a rate of 15.0 runs an over, which gives an indication of the ‘sufferings’ the English bowlers had to undergo while the two were together.
Reece Topley, with an economy of 16.0, Ben Stokes with an economy of 10.66 and Chris Jordan, with an economy of 18.0 clearly bore the brunt. Even the spinners, Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali were not spared. They also had an economy of 10+ as long as the opening duo was at the crease.
AB de Villiers hammered mercilessly and brought up his seventh T20I half-century, which came in just 21 deliveries studded with 5 fours and 4 sixes. He eventually went on to score 71 runs off just 29 deliveries with 6 fours and 6 sixes, in a stay of 42 minutes at the crease. He had a whooping strike rate of 244.82, accumulating his runs.
Hashim Amla, who was dropped by Moeen Ali, when he had not even opened his account, played equal fiddle with de Villiers. Being in the company of de Villiers, Amla was also scoring at a strike rate close to 220.
At the departure of de Villiers, with the team score at 125/1, South Africa needed just 47 runs in 11.4 overs with 9 wickets in hand. Victory was almost assured unless the Proteas had a severe collapse.
Amla was striking the ball well and was joined by his skipper, Faf du Plessis. This duo ensured that there was no further damage. Putting on the remaining 47 runs in 6.2 overs they won the game by 9 wickets with 32 deliveries to spare.
Hashim notched up his second T20I half-century which came in 27 deliveries aided by 8 fours and a six. He remained unbeaten on a well made 69* runs off 38 deliveries with 8 fours and 3 sixes.
Earlier South Africa won the toss and opted to field.
South African bowlers soon reduced England to 61 runs for the loss of 3 wickets in 8 overs. The only meaningful partnership for the fourth wicket between the skipper, Eoin Morgan and the wicket-keeper, Jos Butler produced 96 runs in 8.3 overs, which gave some respectability to the team score.
After putting on 54 runs off 28 deliveries with 4 fours and 4 sixes, Butler departed at the team score of 157/4. Morgan fell in the very next delivery. Butler brought up his third T20I half-century in 27 deliveries with 4 fours and 4 sixes.
Another 14 runs later, England innings got over with 171 runs in 19.4 overs.
For his exemplary batting display, AB de Villiers was awarded the Player of the Match, while Imran Tahir bagged the Player of the Series award.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, de Villiers said, “I really enjoy it up the order, you can just play normal cricket strokes and get value for them. I love playing here, the crowd is amazing, no different today and they pushed us over the line. Hopefully I can win a few games for the team.”
Player of the Series, Imran Tahir said, “I”m really pleased for myself. My main goal is to do that as long as I can. I knew they would have a different gameplan today. It”s been great talking to Faf about my plans. We are playing good cricket. It”s a big honour to be part of a World Cup team for South Africa, maybe the pitches will suit spinners a bit more.”