Recent Match Report – South Africa vs England 2nd T20I 2022

South Africa 207 for 3 (Rossouw 96*, Hendricks 53) beat England 149 (Shamsi 3-27, Phehluwayo 3-39) with 58 runs

South Africa unfolded a near-perfect short-form display to beat England by 58 runs in Cardiff, turning the T20I series into a quadratic for Sunday’s decider in the Ageas Bowl.

Just 24 hours after their 41-run defeat at Bristol on Wednesday night, it was a redeeming performance for the Proteas to draw a 1-1 draw. Rilee Rossouw’s 96 not out led to a total of 207 for three, before Tabraiz Shamsi (three for 27) and Andile Phehluwayo (three for 39) successfully defended their score by passing their opponents by 20 balls.

Jos Buttler said he wanted to see his team go on the hunt after winning a first coin toss in eight and choosing to bowl first, and the Proteas were more than happy to be involved. A solid start – 32 to none after three overs, then 58 to Quinton de Kock’s loss at the end of the power play – was maintained throughout.

Rossouw was the main event, but Reeza Hendricks provided the perfect warm-up, backing up Bristol’s half-century with another here, before finally falling for 53. That ended a score of 73 between him and Rossouw, who currently had 39. , with 8.3 left to go. As Tristan Stubbs struggled to replicate hitting his six-tough 72 of 28 deliveries, 57 of the remaining 95 runs came from the senior man.

England was bad on the field, with wayward lines and lengths, and a variety of fielding errors. Gleeson was able to make up for dropping Hendricks around the corner on a fine leg for 51 by taking the righthander’s wicket in the next over. However, Buttler’s flyout down Rossouw’s leg – who just had 37 – was much more expensive.

That said, Chris Jordan’s concession of just four runs in the 20th over the hosts gave the hosts a spring in their step to the break. And when Buttler became the first batter of the evening to find the stands past the longest line and then hit six-six-four off Phehlukwao, England was in the mix. But Phehlucwayo blocked his fourth throw, resulting in a skier from Buttler well taken by Hendricks and running halfway through, and as four England wickets fell for 51 runs in 6.4 overs, the required speed began to rise above 12.

With 100 needed from the remaining 42 balls, the only reason to sniff an England win was the presence of Jonny Bairstow and Liam Livingstone at the crease. The ability to push boundaries at will—according to Bairstow’s eight sixes in his 53-ball 90 on Wednesday—was the only way out of this gap. Unfortunately for England, within 14 balls, the pair had been sent off – caught on Rabada’s rear point and Phehluwayo behind them respectively – with 67 left for the tail.

The last three wickets fell to just eight, the last of which, Richard Gleeson, was apparently taken on a whim by the fielding side after a DRS call. As with everything else in the game, it went down in South Africa.

Harvesting Rossouw

It may not have been a century ago, but Rossouw’s score was a reminder of both his talents and what South Africa has been missing over the past six years. That he became a Kolpak in his prime, crushing 122 in an ODI against Australia in October 2016, his last appearance for the Proteas before Wednesday’s T20I, was a particularly sore point as he remained visible elsewhere, notable in England for Hampshire and now Somerset.

But the prodigal son is now a man, and his innings here typified an underlying sense of maturity in his game. It was especially clear to those he wasn’t aiming for: Reece Topley started well for him and Moeen Ali’s off-spin would always be tricky for the southpaw to go after him. But he hit well against Gleeson, Jordan and, in particular, Adil Rashid, taking 18 runs on the nine throws he faced from the leg pinner. But for Stubbs chewing through half of the final, Rossouw would likely have hit a first international T20I hundred. Nevertheless, after a stunning Vitality Blast season for Somerset (623 runs at a strike rate of 192.28), it is abundantly clear that the 32-year-old is making up for lost time.

Right, left – overthinking?

Scarcely had Eoin Morgan claimed it took a brave man to divert Bairstow’s command, but Buttler did just that. It certainly wasn’t the more brutal of the two, it was an example of how both teams persisted with right-left combinations.

It’s nothing new, and in this case it was because of the disparity between the two square borders. With leftist Rossouw skipping through the innings from fourth, David Miller waved through a procession of right-handers, including Stubbs coming in for the stand-in captain. Likewise, Bairstow was stopped for Moeen from entering at number 4 in England’s innings after Dawid Malan fell. When Moeen himself was fired for an enterprising 28, Sam Curran came in for Liam Livingstone at six.

None of them really came out, although the reasons for the promotions were entirely justified given the form of Stubbs (72 of 28) and Moeen (52 of 18) from the night before. Not to mention that Bairstow was already in at ninth anyway, and Rossouw would always come in at number 3 to join Hendricks. On this occasion, it was a tactic that made perfect sense, but yielded no tangible reward.

Roy…

The good news for Jason Roy is that barring injuries, he will get the series decider on Sunday to see if he can improve on the 59 runs out of 80 he racked up during the international T20 summer.

The bad news is that it seems like it’s just another chance to fail. Since a century in the final ODI against the Netherlands in Amsterdam, Roy has struggled to get going on home soil. Apart from a 41 in the third ODI against India, he has struggled to get the size of the white Kookaburra ball, showing occasional flashes of timing amid many errors and errors of judgment.

The problem that affects Roy more than others is aesthetics: it’s his nature to go after attacks, and it’s considered an advantage of his character that, even when he’s struggling, he never shirks a fight. However, that means that in the middle of this kind of run, he looks like a guy being pushed into the corner and waving his eyes shut at haymakers.

Vithushan Ehantharajah is an associate editor for ESPNcricinfo

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