South Africa 266 for 9 (Morris 62, Rashid 2-38) beat England 262 (Root 109, Hales 50, Rabada 4-45) by one wicket
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
AB de Villiers was left on his knees but South Africa stayed standing to level the series © Getty Images
The ODI series between South Africa and England will be decided by the final match in Cape Town after South Africa won an enthralling penultimate game by one wicket with 16 deliveries to spare.
After losing the first two matches in the series, South Africa have now won two in a row with Chris Morris justifying his recall for this match – and his lofty IPL price tag – with a match-clinching innings under pressure.
By the time South Africa lost their eighth wicket, they still required 53 to win and looked as if they were going to succumb to the sort of defeat that would do nothing to rid them of the tag of chokers.
But then Morris, driving with power and picking up the short ball impressively, thrashed a maiden ODI half-century in just 30 balls to set-up the finale at Newlands. Four times he seized on deliveries pitched fractionally short – one from each of England’s seamers – to pull enormous sixes and suggest that perhaps the management of Delhi Daredevils (who bid $1m for his services a few days ago) are a better judge of a player’s value than the South Africa selectors.
By the time he fell, beaten by a googly from Adil Rashid, the scores were level and Imran Tahir was able to cut his first delivery for four to clinch the victory.
In truth, South Africa should probably have won this game far more easily. At the halfway stage of the England innings, they had reduced them to 108 for 6 before a brilliant innings from Joe Root – and some far-from-ruthless captaincy – saw a partial recovery.
And, on a decent batting surface, the only quality South Africa required to demonstrate in their run-chase was calm. But, despite their talent, they succumbed to 210 for 8 before Morris intervened.
Indeed, England may well feel they squandered a great opportunity to wrap up the series. They wasted two chances to be rid of Morris early – once on 14, when he was dropped by Rashid off Reece Topley at mid-off, and once on 16 when Eoin Morgan failed to hit the stumps from very close range when Morris attempted a panicky single.
JP Duminy, on 1, was also reprieved by Alex Hales, at second slip off Chris Woakes, while AB de Villiers, on 9, was put down by Jason Roy at point off Stuart Broad. Jos Buttler also missed a stumping off Rashid off Farhaan Behardien when the batsman had 15.
More to follow…
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo