Malan, Buttler blast England to clean sweep
Rassie van der Dussen (74*) and Faf du Plessis (52*) put on South Africa’s record fourth-wicket partnership in T20Is, as they clattered an unbeaten 127 from 10.3 overs to help the home side reach 191/3, but it wasn’t enough to beat a clinical England display.
South Africa batted first – as they have for all three games in the series – with captain Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma landing a couple of big blows, including one from De Kock off Jofra Archer which landed in the building site. However, Chris Jordan came into the attack and broke the partnership as he had De Kock caught by Tom Curran, becoming England’s leading wicket-taker in men’s T20Is in the process.
Fellow opener Bavuma hit two sixes in his 32 from 26 balls but he was caught by Jordan off the bowling of Ben Stokes when trying to lift the ball over the infield, and Stokes then had Reeza Hendricks caught behind by Buttler for 13. At 70/3 from 11 overs, the Proteas looked like they would be struggling to post a competitive total but Du Plessis and Van der Dussen built a crucial partnership.
Van der Dussen went past 50 as he bludgeoned two fours and two sixes off Archer in a whopping 17th over which went for 22 runs, while his batting partner played his part, blasting five fours and three sixes on his way to 52. The pair saw the side to the end of the innings, despite Sam Curran almost taking a wonderful catch as the final ball of the innings was heading over the rope, but he kept it in play to deny the hosts a boundary, leaving them with 191/3 from their allotted overs.
Van der Dussen finished on a tremendous 74* from 32 balls, with five fours and five sixes, as he put on a power-hitting masterclass. His partnership with Du Plessis was also the second-biggest fourth-wicket partnership in men’s T20I history, while their 84 from the final five overs set England a daunting total if they were to take the clean sweep.
George Linde and Anrich Nortje had the visitors under pressure from the start with just four runs coming from the first two overs, but Jason Roy and Buttler hit some lusty blows to relieve some of the nerves. However, Nortje soon had Roy playing across the line and given out LBW for 16.
Malan came to the crease and struck two fours and a six from his first three balls as England upped the ante. Lungi Ngidi came into the attack and thought he’d removed the world’s No.1-ranked T20I batsman LBW with his first delivery. However, Buttler advised his team-mate to call for a review and the decision was overturned.
Bavuma then produced a stunning throw into the stumps as Malan should have been run out but De Kock couldn’t gather and it proved to be a costly error.
Back-to-back fifties for Dawid Malan 🎉— ICC (@ICC) December 1, 2020
The No.1-ranked T20I batsman has taken just 26 balls to reach his ninth T20I half-century 🔥 #SAvENG scorecard ▶️ https://t.co/MHZQn5ZcJa pic.twitter.com/Ify9r9Aqdj
England took young Lutho Sipamla for 21 from the 11th over – with Buttler helping himself to 19 of those – before Tabraiz Shamsi was smacked for 19 in the following over as Malan passed 50. Buttler soon joined him on a half-century before Malan sent an almighty six out of the stadium off Ngidi and the game began to slip away from the hosts.
England took 22 off another Shamsi over before Malan looked set to complete the win in style with a century, but with 15 balls to spare, the England man took a single to finish on 99*. Asked post-match about whether he meant to take the single, when a boundary would have given him a second T20I century, Malan honestly answered: “I need to go back to maths class!”
His 99* from 47 balls was the highest T20I score by an England batsman and the fifth-highest score against South Africa overall in men’s T20Is.
Attentions now turn to Friday’s first ODI between the two sides, also at Newlands, Cape Town which begins at 1.00 pm local time.