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Ken Borland

England rediscover the form that made them the darlings of ODI cricket

Posted on August 30, 2022 by Ken

England rediscovered the form that made them the darlings of limited-overs cricket as they skittled South Africa for just 83 to win the second ODI by 118 runs and level the series at Old Trafford on Friday.

After rain had delayed the start for three hours and 45 minutes, the match was reduced to 29 overs a side and England’s batting line-up also had problems against some excellent Proteas bowling.

Having been sent in to bat, England had slumped to 101 for six after Dwaine Pretorius destroyed the top-order with his canny seamers, taking three wickets.

But the highly-rated Liam Livingstone (38 off 26) and the exciting talent that is Sam Curran (35 off 18) lifted England to 201 all out.

Swing bowling has often been the weakness of South African batting line-ups and left-arm pacemen Reece Topley (4-0-17-2) and David Willey (4-1-9-1) were superb with the new ball, with Janneman Malan and Rassie van der Dussen both making ducks.

When Aiden Markram idiotically ran himself out without facing a ball, trying to steal a leg-bye to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, who scored a slick direct hit, the Proteas had slumped to 6 for four, their worst ever start in an ODI, in terms of their total when the fourth wicket fell.

England’s other left-arm seamer, Curran, then sent a cutter crashing low into the off-stump of David Miller (12) to leave South Africa on 27 for five.

Despite the efforts of Heinrich Klaasen (33) and Dwaine Pretorius (17), the Proteas were never going to recover from such a parlous start and, with the rain returning, England turned to their spinners, Adil Rashid (6-1-29-3) and Moeen Ali (4.4-1-22-2) in order to get to 20 overs and ensure a result as quickly as possible.

South Africa had produced some grand bowling through the clever seamers of Pretorius, who bagged a career-best four for 36 in his six overs, and the guile of spinners Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi.

Pretorius removed Phil Salt (17), brilliantly caught by Miller, and Joe Root (1), who both targeted the leg-side to the inswinger but were deceived by the length and pace of the ball, and then bowled a superb inducker to castle the dangerous Bairstow (28 off 27), and England were 62 for four in the ninth over.

Maharaj (6-0-29-1) and Shamsi (6-0-39-2) then bowled superbly to further reduce England to 101 for six in the 18th over. Shamsi’s set-up of captain Jos Buttler (19) was a beauty to behold as the left-arm wrist-spinner dismissed him for the second match in succession.

But then Curran and Livingstone ensured the momentum began to lean England’s way. Curran hit three brilliant straight sixes off the spinners, which sparked Livingstone, who delighted in the extra pace provided by Nortje to hit him for 6-6-6-4 in the 21st over.

When the ball then began swinging at the start of their innings, the Proteas batsmen reacted like scared children.

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