Proteas keep series hopes alive

BY MARC JACOBSON - FEBRUARY 10, 2016

South Africa kept their quest of winning the ODI series alive as they beat England by 7 wickets in SuperSport Park, Centurion, on Tuesday night.

The victory meant that it is still possible for the Proteas to win the series, as the score tally is now 2-1 in favour of England with two matches still to play. South Africa have to win both those two remaining matches to win the series 3-2.

The pitch heavily favoured the batting attack on the day, as both teams comfortably breached the 300-run mark. A total of 11 wickets were only lost amongst both of the teams, with two of those wickets being run-outs.

The English batting attack did capitalise on their own strengths and put the pitch in good swing as they set the tone for the rest match to come. They showed versatility, as their stead down the order ricocheted from the top-order to the middle order and then even a pinch from the lower-order batsmen.

Opener, Alex Hales and number three, Joe Root, once again grounded the initial authority on the pitch as they scored 65 and 125 respectively, forming a 125-run partnership. A few quick wickets followed, including Hales being caught by Morne Morkel with Kagiso Rabada at strikers-end, just past the half-way mark of their innings before Root and number six, Ben Stokes, eased into a 82-run partnership.

Root was unluckily run out to end his match tenure, while the momentous progression that lead Stokes to score 53 ended when he had been caught by Farhaan Behardien with a delivery from Kyle Abbott.  Another two relatively quick wickets followed before David Willey and Adil Rashid; number nine and ten batsmen respectively, made a final pinch to the Proteas’ bowling attack.

Their strike rates both aired above 160 a piece and they shared two sixes and a four between them to end off the innings with elusiveness. England projected a score of 318/8 in their 50 overs.

The Proteas immediately stomped their authority in the match as they extended a foothold to project an astonishing opening partnership of 239 runs between Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock.

South Africa only lost their first wicket in the 37th over with de Kock playing a half-committed shot to be caught by Root with a delivery from Rashid. De Kock went out for 135.

Not only did the opening partnership rally a heavy attacking bonus against England, but the two openers also managed to keep the run-rate boiling in reaching the monster total with a combined run-rate of 6.46.

Following a magnificent six hit by David Wiese, he was then bowled out the very next ball by Moeen Ali with a failed reverse-sweep shot. With nearly four overs left to play, Amla was dismissed for 127 after a snick-behind was caught from Jos Buttler and bowled by Chris Jordan.

Faf du Plessis then contributed to the Proteas winning-hand, as he placed the last blow to England’s hopes as he scored 33 not out off 29 balls, hitting four 4’s and one 6. South Africa comfortably reached their target with 22 balls to spare and now open up the series for anticipation.

The Proteas now play their next ODI against England in Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, on Friday 12th February in their pink cancer-awareness strip.

Image: Quinton de Kock (left) and Hashim Amla (right) in action at SuperSport Park, Centurion.