About the Match
England registered yet another scintillating win against hosts South Africa to take 2-0 lead in the ongoing ODI series; the two teams will face off in the 3rd ODI at Centurion on 9th February. It is a crucial game for South Africa as it will decide the fate of the series and they need to pull up their socks and start performing better if they want to keep their hopes alive; England on the other hand are a rejuvenated side that seems determined to continue with its winning momentum.
Defending 262 was a challenging task and they did start well as Kyle Abbott provided the opening breakthrough in the 3rd over itself with the wicket of Jason Roy; he came back in the second spell to take two more wickets but by then the English batsmen had se solid foundation. Morkel took two quick wickets in the slog overs but others likes Imran Tahir, Kagiso Rabada and JP Duminy failed to make a dent on the opposition.
Earlier, the batsmen struggled against bowlers like Topley and Stokes and they failed to build strong partnerships batting first; while AB de Villiers improved his performance with the bat as he scored 73 runs, players like Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock couldn’t get the big runs and fell at the start. Duminy and Plessis came close to their half-centuries but couldn’t get them while Behardien and Rabada contributed well to put up a respectable total.
They have a strong batting line-up and a good bowling outfit with pacemen like Abbott and Morkel while Imran Tahir, Duminy and Behardien provide variety to the attack; the batsmen need to come out all guns blazing in order to post a humungous total and put the pressure back on the English.
Reece Topley made fine in-roads into the Protean batting line-up as he took 4-50 in 9 overs to stifle the opponents; his left-arm fast bowling was difficult to read by the hosts and they fell quick prey to his deceit. Stokes and Rashid combined well to take 3 wickets between them and stop the opposition from putting up a huge total.
With 263 runs as target, Alex Hales smashed away 99 runs before he fell to a quickie by Abott in the 42nd over; by then Hales had helped the team cross much of the hurdle with help from Buttler, who scored 48 off 22 balls and Joe Root, who scored 38 runs. Ali and Morgan too contributed with the bat to keep the scoreboard ticking and they reached the target with 22 balls to spare.
Buttler had top-scored in the first ODI as he scored a well-made 105 to take the total to a massive 399, which helped them win the match and he continues to be in good nick with the bat; along with hard-hitters like Alex Hales, Joe Root, Ben Stokes and others, the English batting line-up looks well set to post competitive totals and chase with ease. Their bowling department has a good mix of pace and spin attack that will give them an edge to make mincemeat of the Protean batsmen yet again.
With the series half way through, this is a crucial game for South Africa if they want to be in the running for the title; England has shown exuberance on the field and solid determination to succeed and this puts them as clear favourites to win the match again on Tuesday.