Albie Morkel shows promising form
South Africans 181 for 4 (Ontong 46, A Morkel 35*) beat PCA Masters XI 158 for 8 (Moore 56, A Morkel 3-29) by 23 runs
The South Africans began their preparations for the one-day leg of their tour with a 23-run victory against a PCA Masters XI at Wormsley. Albie Morkel was the stand-out performer, striking 35 off 21 balls before taking 3 for 29 as the Masters came up short despite Stephen Moore's half-century.
The Masters XI was made up of former first-class players, the likes of Nick Knight and Dougie Brown, and those not involved in the current round of domestic matches, while there was also an appearance from Nathan Astle. The South Africans rested a number of key players after the Tests including captain Graeme Smith.
Herschelle Gibbs fell for 18 off 12 balls, but rapid contributions from Hashim Amla and Justin Ontong meant the run rate was over eight at the 10-over mark.
Ontong hit six boundaries in his 37-ball 46 and then the middle order took over. JP Duminy hit hard in his 20-ball 30, while Morkel showed the same qualities he brought to Durham's Twenty20 campaign by clubbing three fours and two sixes.
The Masters struggled early on, losing both openers with 22 on the board, but Moore and Astle carried them to a promising 97 for 2 in the 12th over. Morkel made the breakthrough, having Astle caught behind, and also bowled Moore for an entertaining 56. Between those wickets Johan Botha removed Ali Brown as the challenge faded away.
Morkel has spent the last few weeks watching his brother, Morne, help South Africa to a historic Test series victory and now wants to play his part in one-day success.
"We've been playing some good one-day cricket, we were number one in the world earlier this year and we're a proud nation," he said. "For us to come over here and win a Test series and a one-day series in England would be a big achievement and we're all really keen to do that."