Saturday, February 20, 2016

Fantastico Tahir, Morris Seal the 1st T20I for South Africa

After completing a remarkable come from behind 3-2 series win the South Africans were in high spirits and England looking to get their mojo back as both the teams clashed at Newlands in the first T20I of the two match series.

For South Africa, De Kock missed out due to a niggle which meant that De Villiers would have to take the gloves behind the wickets. Faf du Plessis won the toss and elected to bowl first with a slight bit of rain in the air and dodgy weather.

England got off to a swift start with both Hales and Roy taking on Rabada and Abbott as they missed their line and length. They whizzed to 36-0 by the third over but a back of the hand slower ball got Roy out, Rabada the beneficiary. It still looked like England were on course for a big total as they reached 50-1 after the power play. Imran Tahir got Hales caught brilliantly by Duminy, after he was tackled by Rabada, rugby style; thankfully no one suffered a serious injury.

At this point, England suffered a meltdown as they continued losing wickets to Tahir, by playing some senseless cricket. Tahir was Fantastico with his line and length and used his variations cleverly to leave England tottering at 81-6 after 13 overs. Tahir had figures of 3-0-16-4 and he had changed the entire game within a few overs. England now had only Jos Buttler left but even he struggled to find the boundaries. England eventually finished on 134-8 off their 20 overs, Tahir being the most impact player for South Africa with four wickets.

South Africa opened with De Villiers and Amla and they got off to a relatively brisk start reaching 25 in three and half overs when Topley got the outside edge of Amla's bat but Buttler grassed the chance. The English all rounder duo of Jordan and Stokes, though, brought England right back in the contest when they took out the openers in successive overs. The two bowled 4 overs for just 18 runs in addition to the two important wickets as South Africa reached 50-2 in eight overs. At the end of 12 overs they had reached 74-2 and with only a small target to chase, it was all going to plan for the Proteas.

Rashid got Duminy and Moeen Ali got rid of the Protea skipper Faf du Plessis to set the cat amongst the pigeons. Moeen Ali got Rilee Rossouw in the 18th over but Miller slugged a six and a four to restore some parity. Chris Jordan, in the penultimate over first got the dangerous Miller off the first ball and then Wiese off the fifth to seeing the match again in England's favour.

That left Reece Topley with 15 to defend off the final over of the match. Abbott got a single off the first ball and Morris creamed a four and a six off full tosses off the next two deliveries to bring the equation down to 4 off 3. The fourth delivery was a dot but Morris and Abbott scampered two's off the final two deliveries to seal the win for South Africa! Topley could have forced the match into a super over if he had collected the final delivery cleanly and knocked the stumps over to run the batsman out, but it was not to be as England were left ruing what could have been!

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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