England ride on Morgan masterclass
England 202 for 6 (Morgan 85*, Collingwood 57) beat South Africa 127 for 3 (Bosman 58) by one run (D/L method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
England's new fearless batting approach, led by an audacious 45-ball 85 from Eoin Morgan, got their international winter off to a winning start, but it required an accurate over from James Anderson to secure England the opening Twenty20 international. After posting 202 for 6, their highest score in Twenty20s, England turned the D/L equation into their favour after South Africa had been in the winning position an over before and when a thunderstorm arrived at the Wanderers the home side needed to be 129 after 13 overs, but Anderson had conceded just six from his third over to put England ahead of the rate.
Although England will happily take the result it was an unfulfilling end to a match packed with powerful hitting as Morgan led the way, with England's highest individual Twenty20 score, adding 98 in nine overs with Paul Collingwood who clubbed 57 off 32 deliveries in a full-blooded batting performance. They certainly lived up to the promise of not taking a backward step after coming out of their shells during the Champions Trophy.
South Africa responded through Loots Bosman as he cracked 58 off 31 balls, adding 97 for the first wicket with Graeme Smith in 8.3 overs, before England claimed crucial wickets. Collingwood deserves credit for making the right call in recalling Anderson to the attack, after South Africa moved ahead of the D/L target when Albie Morkel swung Graeme Swann for six.
Alastair Cook pulled off a vital diving save at backward point to prevent a certain boundary from Anderson's second ball back and after conceding a wide he responded by going for two off the next three balls. When AB de Villiers could only club a single to midwicket England were ahead and the heavens opened.
When Bosman and Smith were together South Africa were making rapid progress towards the target in a similar manner to how they chased down 206 to beat West Indies here during the opening match of the 2007 World Twenty20. England's quicks tried to mix up their deliveries but overdid the variety; Tim Bresnan's second over went for 14 and Sajid Mahmood's second cost 19 as South Africa had 67 on the board after six overs. Bosman's 26-ball fifty was the second fastest for South Africa, but when Smith carved to deep cover England started to claw back. Collingwood held a steepler to end Bosman's charge and Mahmood trapped JP Duminy lbw for 6.
Following the bowler-friendly conditions of the Champions Trophy, this was the Wanderers back in more familiar form as boundaries flowed across and over the boundary with regularity. Even though the game lost seven overs, 17 sixes were hit which is enough to make the bowlers question their vocation.
The first-ball dismissal of Joe Denly (his second in two Twenty20 internationals) meant an early arrival to the middle for Jonathan Trott for the most hyped homecoming since Kevin Pietersen. After a predictable first-ball bouncer he made England's first statement of the tour with four consecutive boundaries off Dale Steyn's first over.
Collingwood made his intent clear when he launched Morkel for a leg-side six and despite the two early wickets England's fifty was up inside the six-over Powerplay. The team was certainly living up to the new positive approach instilled by Andy Flower and the absent Andrew Strauss. It wasn't dull.
Trott's contribution was ended when he chanced a single to backward point and was beaten by a sharp return even though the bowler, Roelof van der Merwe, almost messed up his attempt at breaking the stumps. However, it brought in another in-form batsman.
Morgan has provided the middle-order with the power for so long lacking in England's limited-overs side and this display was another demonstration of his awesome striking ability. One six over the leg-side went out of the ground, off Steyn no less, leaving gasps of amazement from those watching. Yes, the Wanderers is at altitude. Yes, the pitch had the pace and bounce batsmen enjoy. But it was a monumental blow nonetheless.
He followed up by dispatching the struggling Morkel for 14 off three balls before Collingwood made it 21 from the 14th over with a thumping six over long on. Smith made regular bowling changes, moved his field around all over the place, but was powerless to stop the onslaught.
Both Collingwood (27 balls) and Morgan (29 balls) reached their half-centuries in the 15th over and by the time Collingwood carved to deep cover the pair had added 98 in 9.1 overs. Briefly South Africa slowed the charge with three wickets in 15 balls, but Morgan kept his head to regain the momentum and took 29 off his last seven balls with his full array of drives, deflections and mighty blows. In terms of whetting the appetite for the tour ahead, this certainly wasn't a bad start.
Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo