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Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla and JP Duminy all scored half-centuries in a line-up that included AB de Villiers at No. 3 and South Africa would have thought they had enough. Instead, they were left to rue the three overs between 10 and 13, bowled by Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali, when South Africa could not find the boundary and scored just 14 runs. Before that, they were 125 for 2; after it, 139 for 3 and it was the difference between a score under 250 and one greater than. In the end, South Africa needed the latter.
On a night when no one wanted to be a bowler, the England seamers’ scattergun approach was nullified by South Africa’s overcompensation in bowling too straight, as well as some ill discipline. While England only gave away two wides, South Africa donated 20. An England line-up whose approach is built on aggression punished them for that.
Given the magnitude of their task, England showed intent from the first ball. Jason Roy swung hard at Kagiso Rabada and took 21 runs of the opening over – the most Rabada has conceded in an over in this format.
Alex Hales treated Dale Steyn with equal disdain. He sent the first three balls for four, all flicks on the leg side, although he should have been dismissed off the first. Kyle Abbott was at short fine leg and could not hold on. Roy had even less respect for Steyn. He finished the over with 10 runs off two balls to take England to 44 after two overs, the most runs off 12 balls in a T20. It was also Steyn’s most expensive T20I over
England were running away with it but Abbott made up for his earlier blunder when he had Hales rappedon the pads in front of middle and leg to strike the first blow.
Ben Stokes was promoted to No. 3, Roy kept going and South Africa had to turn to death bowling strategies in the Powerplay. Abbott searched for the yorker and found it but when he missed Roy ramped him for six over de Kock’s head. Roy tried to do it again but skied it and de Kock took the catch, ending hiscontribution at 43 from 16 balls.
When Stokes hit a Rabada full toss to the deep square leg boundary, it was advantage South Africa. Although England had more runs than South Africa had after six overs – 89 to 83 – they had already lost three wickets.