South Africa v England, 1st T20, Cape Town February 19, 2016

Morris clinches last-ball win as Topley fumbles


South Africa 135 for 7 (du Plessis 25, Jordan 3-23) beat England 134 for 8 (Buttler 32*, Tahir 4-21) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Chris Morris scored 14 runs off the final over and two off the last ball, as Reece Topley failed to gather a return at the stumps and complete a run out that would have forced a Super Over, to give South Africa a nail-biting victory at Newlands.

Morris rescued South Africa from a middle-order meltdown in which they tumbled from 98 for 3 in the 16th over to 119 for 7 in the 19th and made hard work of what was shaping as a more routine chase.

Chris Jordan and Moeen Ali shared five wickets, while Ben Stokes also produced an impressive four overs, to almost overshadow Imran Tahir, who had taken 4 for 21 to restrict England to 134 for 8. Tahir's effort, which equalled his career-best, slammed the brakes on England after a brisk start. As it turned out, England did not need too many more runs and once again it was fielding errors which meant they finished on the losing side.

England may not have thought it would get that close after they stuttered through a significant part of their innings. Their run rate was less than six an over for 17 overs after they plundered 36 off the first three and threatened to post a towering total.

Alex Hales and Jason Roy were severe on Kagiso Rabada and Kyle Abbott upfront but their aggression did not last. Roy pulled a Rabada slower ball to Hashim Amla at midwicket and Hales top-edged a sweep in Tahir's first over, which almost brought a nasty outfield collision, to start the slide.

England lost 5 for 29 in the next six overs and South Africa took control. While David Wiese and Morris squeezed, Tahir attacked. He beat Stokes with a googly to have him stumped and had Eoin Morgan and Moeen caught off successive deliveries to stand on the cusp of a hat-trick. He almost got it with a googly to Jordan that missed the top of the stumps.

Even though he didn't, the damage was done. England only had Jos Buttler but he and the lower order could not cut loose to leave South Africa fancying their chances at the halfway stage.

South Africa approached the chase watchfully and, with the top-heavy nature of their line-up, they needed to. Amla, who has had his problems against left-armers, offered a chance when he slashed at a Topley delivery and got and edge but Buttler could not hold on.

England did not have to wait long, though. Three balls later AB de Villiers was caught on the fine-leg boundary and in the next over Amla was out when David Willey got down well to a low catch at mid-on. South Africa lost the bulk of their experience and still needed 100 runs but had 15 overs to get them.

Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy shared in the highest partnership of the match - 41 for the third wicket - but they did not always look at ease. Duminy survived an lbw shout off Jordan and neither of them found the boundary easily. The required run rate increased to almost eight an over and the pressure told.

Adil Rashid proved particularly difficult to get away and Duminy succumbed. He was caught at long-on in an attempt to go big and England began to strangle. They pushed the required run rate towards nine and then du Plessis tried to accelerate but picked out long-on too.

South Africa needed 37 runs off the last four overs with only the finishers left. David Miller's lack of game time and the two allrounders' inexperience gave England the advantage especially after Jordan bowled another boundary-less over.

Rilee Rossouw was next to go, top-edging a sweep, but Miller showed the aggression of old when he took 11 runs off three balls from Moeen Ali to leave South Africa needing 21 off two overs.

Jordan bowled the perfect penultimate over. He had Miller caught at long-on and bowled Wiese with a full delivery to end his four overs with career-best T20 figures of 3 for 23 and leave Topley with 15 to defend off the final over. The only problem was that he had to do it against Morris.

As he did in the Wanderers ODI a week ago, Morris showed big-match temperament and after Abbott gave him the strike he finished the job. A four off a low full toss, a six off another and a two ran as though his life depended on it meant South Africa proved their potential under pressure and England were left to wonder what could have been if Topley had pulled off the run-out.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Devinderpal Singh on February 21, 2016, 12:47 GMT

    @jg2704: New post: I think I referenced your 1st point in your latest post, in an unpublished post of mine. Let's see what happens with my post.

    Re: your 2nd point: I think you might be comparing apples and oranges here. My point about Simmons was that his IPL numbers justify his place in his IPL side for further opportunities (especially when you consider how dominant he has been in two consecutive seasons), while Buttler, as he has not played in the IPL, must be deemed to be lower on the totem pole. In terms of Willey, his domestic numbers would justify his place in the Northamptonshire side, in terms of elsewhere, it is going to be tougher for him, especially in India.

    My personal view on Willey (short term, at least) is that, at the international level, he is not good enough. I would prefer a specialist fast bowler in his spot. Like I said before, better bowlers than him have failed massively in India, so I don't see him or Stokes doing well in the upcoming tournament.

  • Devinderpal Singh on February 21, 2016, 12:36 GMT

    When Bopara can be England's 2013 ODI player of the year, despite batting out of position, and gets dropped mere months later as England want "hit-the-deck" bowlers (a completely irrelevant issue to him), that says all one needs to know about the treatment to him across formats, regarding the lack of batting and also bowling opportunities (I think partly because Tendulkar publicly rated him as the best batsman he had ever seen, so an entity wanted to prove him wrong, even artificially so. What's the ruination of one career worth in comparison...), but I've documented that enough. Re: Willey again: when watching him play for Northants, I get the impression he is more of a pinch-hitter who has been very successful for them, rather than having the capabilities of a true opener i.e. showing some good technique rather than just explosive batting. Maybe that is just what T20s can do for a player. P2 of 3.

  • Devinderpal Singh on February 21, 2016, 12:30 GMT

    @jg2704: Yeah, maybe I'm a bit critical of Willey, but what I would say is: in a number of matches now, both ODIs and T20Is, in particular this one (where he came in with merely 10 balls left), even if he wasn't successful consistently in his career so far, which is unreasonable to expect, I would have thought that I'd see 1 innings of big-hitting, but in his handful of innings, albeit down the order, it has not happened. Maybe too few chances still. I take the point of batting out of position in T20s and in 50 over cricket, compared to what he does for Northamptonshire, where he was mostly at 6 last year, and his two innings as an opener were productive. Stokes was indeed awful at 8, in Sri Lanka about 16 months ago, and I don't think he has got much better, if at all, in limited-overs cricket. His Test rep has spilled over to l-o cricket...has that happened with English players before?... If it was not so sad and demoralising for those adversely affected, I'd laugh. P1 of 3.

  • John on February 21, 2016, 11:01 GMT

    @DSA - Apologies if you've already addressed my points but they don't seem to be published as yet although I see your post says part 3 of 3 (published twice) and there seems to be no part 1 or 2. But just 2 things re Willey and I'm certainly not saying he has fully justified his place yet

    1 - Re batting - he opened for Nhants and bats at 10 here , so that's as big a gap as you can get and you have in the past cited Eng not batting Stokes or Bopara in their natural positions (re form) when they batted at 7 or 8 from 2-5 so surely Willey should not be judged too harshly on batting at 10? Also I'd while the deep batting favours those op the order to have license when you are the last at 10 you maybe have to rein it a little and IMO he did the right thing and made sure they batted the overs. Also he bowled well in BBL

    2 -You slated some Eng fans for not realising/acknowledging Simmons form in IPL re the Buttler thread - ignoring form in that tourn - but ignore Willey's domestic numbers

  • John on February 21, 2016, 10:44 GMT

    @CRICKETSUBH ON FEBRUARY 20, 2016, 13:43 GMT - So who would you pick in your side? It's easy saying the formation but I've not seen anything constructive re who you'd pick instead. Every batsman (inc Morgan) are capable T20 players but Morgan and Roy are the most out of form. Yes he has played all the leagues but that's because he's not been restrained by Eng test commitments and 2 or 3 years ago his IPL franchise benched him for the whole tourn. Willey did pretty well with the ball in BBL and Buttler went for more bucks at this year's IPL than both KP and Morgan despite him having no IPL experience so the franchises must like him

  • Devinderpal Singh on February 21, 2016, 3:05 GMT

    Northants don't really get much t.v time, and when they do, it's usually in T20s, hence I am not convinced of his batting abilities. Based on what I've seen, taking the quality of bowling into account, I am not convinced tbh, and with the ball, I'm definitely not. With a WT20 in India, it should get even harder for him as a bowler, hence I'm predicting that he will fail. Players in the WT20 squad should have either real potential (e.g. Topley), or proven ability, but in his case, I think neither applies... and then there's Dawson, who hasn't even debuted! On an unrelated note, who is he related to? P3 of 3.

  • Harjinder on February 20, 2016, 21:01 GMT


  • David on February 20, 2016, 17:00 GMT

    Why leave out James Vince, man of the series in England's last T20 series?

  • Shipu on February 20, 2016, 16:00 GMT

    England may bat deep, but the batting quality is poor. I wonder if they are good enough to take on Mustafizur Rahman come the World T20. The batsman were clueless in reading deliveries of Tahir. Good luck.

  • blahblah1234567_9F5B2346-4AB1-446E-A1A0-77E2268CE43B on February 20, 2016, 14:58 GMT

    Even if sa made a hash of the chase, they learned, more importantly, that they can handle pressure which is probably the most important thing to do in a t20. Also i would like to see South Africa bat first.

  • No featured comments at the moment.