Thursday, February 4, 2016

Buttler Serves England a Win on the Platter in Bloemfontein

English captain Eoin Morgan won the toss and decided that England will bat first on a surface that looked full of runs under the Bloemfontein Sun. Jason Roy, who had been in some doubt for this match was declared for to play and James Taylor missed out. For South Africa, their rising star bowler Kasigo Rabada was rested in an attempt to manage his work load and speedster Merchant De Lange was brought in his place.

Jason Roy and Alex Hales both started in a hurry and teed off from the very first over. The English 50 came up in only the 6th over with Roy doing most of the damage. Morne Morkel was brought in as first change for De Lange and he immediately got the breakthrough that the Proteas were desperate for. Roy was out for a blistering 48 off just 30 balls. Root and Hales then began to serenely compile the runs as the 100 came up in the 15th over. Hales broke loose a bit as he neared his fifty and he got out as soon as he got there, De Lange getting him for 57 off 47 balls.

Jos Buttler, the man who hit the fastest ODI hundred for the English against Pakistan recently came in and continued from where he had left over two months ago. Cracking cover drives, lifted shots over long on, reverse sweeps and powerful pull shots, Jos was in his elements and showing his full range. On the other hand Root, playing in the shadow of his more attacking teammates calmly reached another half century off his own, this one taking just 52 balls.

Once Root got out, Stokes came in and played the role of a side-kick perfectly. The two of them motored along and Buttler brought up a fine hundred, off just 73 balls. He got out in the 43rd over for a classy 105 off 76 balls. Stokes, 21 off 23 balls until then, came into his own after the dismissal of Buttler. He made 57 off 38 balls and cameos from Moeen Ali and Chris Jordan ensured that the English side fell just short off the 400 run mark, finishing eventually on 399.

Amla fell early in the chase getting bowled out to David Wiley for just 6. But Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock both played percentage innings taking toll of anything loose to power South Africa to 72-1 after the 10 over mark. Faf brought up his fifty off just 37 balls and de Kock reached there too off the same number of deliveries.

Moeen Ali, then turned the course of the game when he first had Faf caught at deep mid-wicket off Hales and AB de Villiers was then snapped up by a Fantastico one handed grab by Stokes at the long-on boundary. On the other hand de Kock was in full flow, carving boundaries and slamming sixes at will. He brought up a lovely hundred off just 67 balls. When Duminy was foxed by a slower ball from Topley South Africa were 197-4 in the 26th over. Ali also took out Rilee Rossouw in the 33rd over just before the heavens opened up. The rain did not relent and de Kock was left stranded on 138* off just 96 balls as South Africa fell short by 39 runs on the D/L method. It was a great day of cricket spoiled by rain but we were still witness to two of the most peppy tons scored in recent times.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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