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Malan’s 55 sets up T20 series victory for England

PAARL, (The Southern African Times) – England beat South Africa by four wickets in the second Twenty20 on Sunday to clinch the series as Dawid Malan hit a half-century and captain Eoin Morgan took his team home in a low-scoring game on a difficult pitch at Boland Park in Paarl.

Morgan was 26 not out and his partnership of 51 with Malan (55) for the fifth wicket was key in seeing England to victory and a 2-0 lead in the three-game series.

England was chasing 147 to win and got there with a ball to spare, finishing on 147-6. Chris Jordan hit the winning runs with a four over square leg.

It was reasonably comfortable for the tourists in the end, but England had to fight in its pursuit of that low target on a pitch where batsmen struggled to work out the pace and time their shots.

Jos Buttler (22), Jonny Bairstow (3) and Ben Stokes (16) fell in quick succession and England was 83-4 in the 14th over and left with work to do.

Malan, who started slowly, got going with Morgan at his side and his half-century with seven fours and a six put England on course for the win.

It was no coincidence that Malan adjusted to the pitch best out of the England batsmen having played provincial cricket at Boland Park early in his career.

He was eventually out to a fabulous catch by Reeza Hendricks on the long-off boundary. The fielder leaped high, took the catch, then lobbed the ball up as he fell over the boundary and recovered to complete the catch.

Malan had hammered a straight six down the ground in the same direction to bring up his 50 the ball before. By the time he was out, England was on course, needing just 13 runs from the last 13 balls.

The tourists cruised home from there despite Sam Curran falling for 1 in the last over.

Legspinner Adil Rashid took 2-23 for England to stop South Africa in its tracks as Hendricks (16) and Faf du Plessis (11) fell in the space of 10 runs in the Proteas’ innings. Heinrich Claasen’s dismissal to Curran left South Africa on 95-5 in the 14th over and struggling.

George Linde’s 29 from 20 wasn’t enough to revive the innings.

England’s tour was organized on short-notice to give both teams a chance to play some cricket after the international schedule was affected by the coronavirus pandemic. England will play three T20s and three one-day internationals, all in Cape Town or the nearby city of Paarl to limit travel and allow both teams to stay in a bio-bubble at a Cape Town hotel because of the virus.

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