England XI 202 for 6 (Hales 78, Morgan 42, Parnell 3-26) beat South Africa A 158 for 8 (de Bruyn 56, Topley 3-29) by 44 runs
Alex Hales continued his blistering form ahead of the T20 series © Getty Images
Alex Hales continued his prolific limited-overs form with a sixth successive fifty-plus score, while captain Eoin Morgan club five sixes in a 13-ball onslaught, to push the England XI to a match-winning total in their T20 warm-up match against South Africa A in Paarl.
Hales got his side off to a fast start and nullified the South African attack’s comeback in the latter part of their innings before Morgan, who had a lean one-day series, added the finishing touches. Reece Topley, who was the leading wicket-taker in the ODIs, and Adil Rashid then took five wickets between them to ensure England maintained their 100% record over South Africa’s reserves on this tour.
On a traditionally flat Boland Park surface, South Africa A opened with their international spinner Aaron Phangiso but Hales was not concerned with a lack of pace. He took nine runs off the left-arm spinner’s first over to set the tone. Hales went on to punish Wayne Parnell and Beuran Hendricks and England’s fifty was up inside five overs.
Jason Roy’s 22 off 14 balls seemed pedestrian in the Hale-storm and he was the first man to fall. Dolphins bowler Andile Phehlukwayo, who has had an impressive domestic season so far, had Roy caught by David Miller four balls before the Powerplay was up.
Phangiso bowled the first boundary-free over of the innings in the seventh but his fellow spinner, Tabraiz Shamsi, could not build on the pressure. Hales took 11 off this first over and 17 came off his second with the help of James Vince. Sandwiched in between that, he reached his 50 off 32 balls.
England were well poised on 99 for 1 at the halfway stage but South Africa A slowed them down a touch when Parnell had Vince caught by Reeza Hendricks. So began the squeeze which included a tight 15th over from Phehlukwayo which cost just three runs and resulted in the wicket of Hales in the next over.
A total that was set for 200 seemed to be stagnating until Morgan announced himself after a quiet run in the ODIs with 24 runs, including three sixes, in five balls off Beuran Hendricks to put England back on track. Morgan pushed England towards 200 before Phelukwayo and Parnell took 3 for 10 between them in the penultimate and final over.
The South Africa A line-up, even with internationals Miller and Farhaan Behardien, were always on the back foot. Reeza Hendricks was out lbw in the first over to Topley but Theunis de Bruyn and Morne van Wyk rebuilt. They posted the highest partnership of the match, 88, for the second-wicket and were particularly severe on Chris Woakes. De Bruyn scored 22 runs off the 11 balls he faced from Woakes and then matched Hales with fifty off 32 balls.
Woakes had his revenge when he claimed the wicket of van Wyk at the end of the 11th over to start the slide. Rashid dismissed de Bruyn at the end of the next over and South Africa A were wobbling. Worryingly for South Africa’s senior side, Miller, playing in his first match in two-and-a-half weeks after sitting out the ODIs, was stumped for 10 and Behardien bowled for 4 to end the challenge.
Jon-Jon Smuts made 30 but became the second of consecutive wickets for Topley in the final over which ensured the England sealed their win emphatically.
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo