Six, four and for David Malan. He played two brilliant shots, Phehlukwayo into the crowd at midwicket and then over the edge, but drove the next delivery and edged Kock. Malan goes from 23 tops to 43 stylish.
11th over: England 101-2 (Malan 33, Bairstow 35) Another over from Maharaj, which restricts England to just three singles. He ends up with the unbelievably small numbers of 4-0-31-0.
10th over: England 98-2 (Malan 32, Bairstow 33) It is true to say that England is targeting Shamsi. His first head went to 14; the second 21 has disappeared.
Malan smashed the first ball elegantly over extra cover six, the ball landed on the boundary sponge. Bairstow bowled a boundary to the same area, a cow corner for him, and then pulled a line big six on a square foot.
The is drinks.
9th over: England 77-2 (Malan 25, Bairstow 21) A superb third from Maharaj gives England just four singles. Looks like they need at least 200 here.
8th over: England 73-2 (Malan 23, Bairstow 19) Tabraiz Shamsi of the left side enters the attack. His first ball is a long hop for which Malan tightens his belts over midwicket. six. Malan may no longer be the world No1 but he still has an extraordinary record: he averages 42 with a strike rate of 138.
Then Bairstow pulls wildly to deep midwicket, where Klaasen loses the ball and lets it go to his right. six. It would have been a comfortable catch if he hadn’t lost sight of it.
7th over: England 59-2 (Malan 16, Bairstow 12) After five more low-risk singles, Bairstow signals the start of an informal Powerplay and signals Maharaj’s delivery at long-on to card. six.
6th over: England 48-2 (Malan 13, Bairstow 4) The loss of openers, and a long tail, meant England needed a few minutes to regroup. This allows Andile Phehlukwayo to come into the attack and avoid a very cheap over – five singles from it.
“Isn’t it time to consider another opener,” says James Burgess. “I appreciate that Roy has the credit but have you ever seen a T20 international opener more out of form. It’s just painful. Roy is feast or starve.”
Ah, but as Eoin Morgan might say: the longer the famine, the closer we get to the feast. (Or for an involuntary admission that the famine is now permanent, and therefore you must retire.)
5th over: England 43-2 (Malan 10, Bairstow 2) A wonderful over from Ngidi – four runs, one wicket.
Heartbrokenwhile, here’s that fantastic catch from David Miller to dismiss Jos Buttler.
The new drummer is Geoff Capes
A horror story from Jason Roy is over. It was produced by Ngidi with a classy slower ball and he slotted it in the air to backward point. Roy’s poor run continues with a 15-ball 8.
4th over: England 39-1 (Roy 6, Home 9) Malan picks Rabada over midwicket six, an amazing shot off just his third delivery. Roy later survives a run-out chance after playing tip and run into the covers. There is an argument, albeit a somewhat cruel one, that it is a blessing in disguise for South Africa to have lost the toss by the neck. Roy is struggling a bit and has seven sevens off 13 balls.
3rd over: England 29-1 (Roy 5, Home 1) “It looks like Jason Roy is not far from finding his best form,” says Brian Withington. “I’m not entirely sure if it’s worth the wait. Bairstow and/or Root as openers for me. I hope he’ll hit a brutal fifty now.
I think it’s definitely worth the wait. After all, they wouldn’t have had a 50-match World Cup without him, and they might have won the T20 World Cup if he hadn’t missed the semi-final through injury. He also had these feisty moments throughout his career. She said, they can’t wait forever, and there are 25 taxis on the line.
David Miller takes a brilliant catch to dismiss Jos Buttler! One captain has survived the other. Buttler had hit Ngidi for a six and a four to reach 22 off six balls, and was looking for another six when he brought Ngidi down the ground. He didn’t quite get it this time, and Miller backpedaled furiously from half-way to pick up a superb catch on the right-hand side. It was a really impressive performance, and Buttler goes for 7-ball 22.
A 7-ball 22! And people still believe that we live in a civilized society.
2nd over: England 16-0 (Roy 4, Buttler 12) Kagiso Rabada shares the new ball. Roy, still searching for form, misses a hack in the track and stays optimistic of an LBW call. Very high. But it’s broken by Rabada, just three from it.
First over: England 13-0 (Roy 2, Buttler 11) South Africa start with left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, as they did against Jason Roy in the ODIs. He flicks a single to get off the mark, and then Buttler takes a first-ball boundary at covers after a mistake from Heinrich Klaasen.
Buttler over the top sixhe waved casually on the wide long-on the back foot.
Here come the players. It’s cloudy in Bristol, so there’s a chance the new ball will roll around. Or he could just fly anywhere.
“Evar Rob,” Simon McMahon says. “On my way home from Edinburgh after today’s T20 between Scotland and New Zealand at the Grange. The atmosphere was, understandably, I think, a little subdued after Monday’s revelations of institutional racism within Cricket Scotland. Hopefully that it will be the beginning of a real and meaningful change.
“As for the cricket itself, Scotland were always up against it after New Zealand posted 225 for five from their 20 overs, but produced a brilliant hand in the end to lose by 68 runs. Let’s have something closer tonight. hope…”
He’s coming home! (repeat)
This is not such a good read. Chris Woakes is now 33 years old and has had knee problems for years. It should be a doubt, not only for the T20 World Cup in October, but also next year’s defense of the 50-over trophy.
This is a really interesting piece from James Wallace on how cricket, and life, has changed in the age of social media. I have never had so much fun studying a foreign language.
England make three changes from the last T20 against India. Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran and Adil Rashid replace Harry Brook, Phil Salt and David Willey.
Rilee Rossouw is playing her first international game since 2016, and 21-year-old Tristan Stubbs is getting another chance.
England Roy, Buttler (c/wk), Malan, Bairstow, Ali, Livingstone, Curran, Jordan, Rashid, Topley, Gleeson.
South Africa de Kock (wk), Hendricks, Rossouw, Klaasen, Miller (c), Stubbs, Phehlukwayo, Rabada, Maharaj, Ngidi, Shamsi.
Jos Buttler, who was very happy when he threw the gold in front of him, said that he would also buy the cup. He has now lost seven fingers in a row.
The limits in Bristol are really short, so this should be a very high stakes game.
Right, who’s up for another white ball series? Tough, because you get one: England and South Africa in a three-match, five-day T20 series. They play Bristol tonight, Cardiff tomorrow and Southampton on Sunday, when even a 22-man battle would steal the back page.
Dual series are long, and not in a good way, but that’s not without meaning. The World Cup is less than three months away, and both teams are finalizing their plans. Or, in the case of England, after Eoin Morgan’s retirement, he quickly fixes them.
His replacement Jos Buttler, England’s ace in T20 cricket, had a poor series against India and will be eager to return to the six-hitting normal, if only to silence the media and trolls in his head. At least he won’t be facing Bhuvneshwar Kumar this time. There are several doubts about England in white-ball cricket. An out-of-form Buttler, and a series win over South Africa, will take away a lot of them.
A year ago, this would have been the home banker. Now, not so much. South Africa have improved a lot in T20s in the last year, winning 15 or 19 of their last games. (Before that — and yes I’m using arbitrary cutoff points to make the stats a little more impressive, and yes I know Bill Frindall is probably rolling in his grave — they won three of the previous 18.)
They beat England at last year’s World Cup, only missing out on a semi-final spot on aggregate, and recently drew 2-2 away to India. Even without injured captain Temba Bavuma they look a strong side, especially with Kagiso Rabada returning after being rested for the ODIs. Rilee Rossouw, who scored 93 off 36 balls for Somerset in the T20 Blast the other week, is back in the squad after a six-year absence.
It’s a good test for both sides, just the kind you need in a World Cup year. Look, I almost talked about the series myself.
Tonight’s match starts at 18.30.