South Africa 182 for 6 (Hendricks 42, Klaasen 39, Delany 2-24) beat Ireland 138 (Tector 34, Parnell 5-30, Pretorius 3-33) with 44 runs
South Africa closed the cue ball of their tour to the UK with a second win in the T20I series after beating Ireland 2-0. Their 44-run victory at Bristol was their fourth win over five T20Is in ten days, and has given them a good period of preparation for the World Cup.
Ireland, on the other hand, slumped to an eighth consecutive T20I defeat and their third series loss this summer. They haven’t won a T20I since they qualified for the T20 World Cup in February and hosted Afghanistan for five games later this month as they try to get combinations right before the big tournament.
This series shows that Ireland’s offense needs to work on their discipline – they threw 13 in the first game and eight and a no-ball in the second – as their batting formation is desperately looking for Paul Stirling to return to and at least one other in the top six to contribute.
For example, South Africa have now won 18 of their last 26 T20I matches dating back to June last year, including four series wins and a draw.
A power play with many opportunities
Ireland created several chances with the new ball, but had to wait for Quinton de Kock to play a bad trick before one of them counted. They should have removed the Kock for 1, when they took the slip and the Kock took the last ball from Andy McBrine’s opening, but there was no one there to catch the catch.
They could have also removed him in the next over when Mark Adair teased the perimeter with a ball that slid diagonally but was too good for De Kock to hit. Adair defeated de Kock again in his next over, then squared him. And they could have also removed him in Josh Little’s first over when, in desperation, de Kock hit a short-length ball across the middle.
Finally, they caught him trying to pull Barry McCarthy, and found Curtis Campher on a deep square leg. De Kock has now gone 11 T20I turns without fifty, which last came in September 2021.
On the other hand, Reeza Hendricks also found it difficult, flashed a few times and was often punched, but interspersed that with some glorious blows, standing at 32 from 22 balls when De Kock was sent off.
South Africa dragged themselves to 58 for 2 after 11 overs, before Aiden Markram took it upon himself to get things moving. He scored 24 of the 26 runs of McBrine’s last over – Hendricks singled and there was a walk – so Gareth Delany might have been a little nervous about bowling his third.
But the leg pinner struck immediately as he broke through Hendricks’ defense to avoid becoming the lone batter to score five consecutive T20I fifties, after which Markam pulled a short ball straight into the deep midwicket. South Africa was 85 to 4 in the 13th over, and 93 to 4 after 14, and 150 seemed pretty far off at that stage,
Miller, Klaasen lift them out
But in the space of the next 18 balls, South Africa scaled 150; in fact they were now able to go for 180 plus. Miller and Klaasen crushed 71 runs in their partnership, including 63 runs in three overs to undo all of Ireland’s disciplined work.
Klaasen started off with a few sweeps against Delany before Miller pulled him over the line for a long time; then Miller hit Adair for back-to-back sixes and a four through the covers, before the two batters together plundered 28 on McCarthy’s third left. Though McCarthy stuck to a yorker length, one that was too wide went through the run for four, while two others, which turned out to be full throws, were hit for six.
South Africa was 156 for 4 after 17 overs, and perhaps even had 200 in their sights before Little Klaasen took a short third. In the end, Ireland gave up 25 runs in the last three overs to keep South Africa at 181.
Parnell is likely third in the all-rounder queue, after Andile Phehluwayo and Pretorius, but his performance with the ball in this series was a timely reminder of what he can do. He had been used in the first substitution on Wednesday, but opened the bowling this game and had swing on offer.
But it was an extra bounce that Parnell got up front, beating Andy Balbirnie, who tried to punch a ball of length through the covers but got a lead over Keshav Maharaj, and took off for an eight-ball duck. Parnell’s next ball was a good length, as Lorcan Tucker slid down the course to try to hit him over the top, but sent a half-hearted blow to Pretorius halfway through to leave Parnell behind with a hat-trick.
Harry Tector survived the hat-trickball, but Ireland struggled early on at 3 for 2. Parnell returned in 13th over and took two more wickets with the short ball, then claimed a fifth when De Kock took a dive to remove Andy McBrine . This was Parnell’s first T20I five-for, taking him to 50 wickets in the format.
Down and then out
Stirling hasn’t scored a half-century of T20I this year, and not in 14 innings since a 51 against Oman last December, but he looked like he could change that with powerful shots to the leg side of Parnell’s second over, and an almighty pull-off Praetorius. Lungi Ngidi was brought in to replace Parnell and caught Stirling by surprise with a good length ball when he expected something shorter.
Stirling was too early with the pull and walked with the bottom to his box, causing him to immediately go down in a lot of pain. After a few minutes he regained his composure, but Ngidi had worked him out, delivering a full, slower ball that Stirling waved goodbye to. The leading edge went towards short third where Markram, running from point, caught him.
Ireland finished the power play at 40 for 3, so with little chance of challenging South Africa. They managed two partnerships in the 1940s, but were knocked out in the 19th.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South African correspondent