England vs South Africa 2nd ODI: England clinch series after South Africa denied in nail-biting finish

Stokes celebrates after bringing up his second ODI century

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

South Africa looked on track for victory despite a sensational hundred from England all-rounder Ben Stokes, but a brilliant final over by Mark Wood led to the hosts escaping with a two-run win in the second ODI in Southampton.

England’s victory at the Rose Bowl saw them secure an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Choosing to bowl first, South Africa struck early as Kagiso Rabada clean bowled England opener Jason Roy for eight runs.

Alex Hales and Joe Root made up for the loss of Roy with a 58-run partnership before Hales was caught behind off the bowling of Dwaine Pretorius for 24.

Pretorius struck again in his next over as he ran Root out at the non-striker’s end for 39 after getting a fingertip touch on a ball that was hit back at him.

Despite losing Hales and Root in quick succession, captain Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes stabilised the innings with a 95-run partnership, during which Stokes brought up his fifty, before Morgan was caught behind off the bowling of Rabada for 45.

Stokes and Jos Buttler kept the runs flowing with a 77-run stand, during which Stokes registered his hundred, before he was dismissed by debutant Keshav Maharaj.

Stokes, who was dropped by Hashim Amla and wicketkeeper Quinton de KockĀ on the first two balls of his innings, scored 101 off 79 balls, which included 11 boundaries and three sixes.

Buttler and Moeen Ali ensured England concluded their innings on a high as they put together a 77-run partnership, during which Buttler sailed past his fifty, before Moeen was caught behind off the bowling of Andile Phehlukwayo for 33 off the final ball of the innings.

Buttler ended up making 65 not out, which came off 53 balls and included seven boundaries, as England finished on 330/6 off their 50 overs.

Buttler scored his 13th ODI fifty

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Rabada was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Pretorius, Phehlukwayo and Maharaj chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing 331 to win, South Africa got off to a solid start as De Kock and Amla amassed a 56-run partnership before Amla was removed by Stokes for 24.

Faf du Plessis only managed 16 runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Liam Plunkett.

De Kock and captain AB de Villiers steadied the ship with a 96-run partnership, during which both batsmen surpassed their fifties, before De Villiers was caught behind off the bowling of Plunkett for 52 off 50 balls, which included six boundaries.

De Villiers’ 53rd ODI fifty went in vain

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

De Kock proceeded to make 98 off 103 deliveries, which included 11 boundaries, before he was caught behind off the bowling of Moeen.

De Kock fell two runs short of his 13th ODI hundred

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

David Miller and Farhaan Behardien kept the Proteas in the game with a 55-run partnership before Behardien was sent packing by Plunkett for 17.

Despite the loss of Behardien, Miller and Chris Morris began teeing off and South Africa looked on track for a magnificent win.

But, heading into the last over, seven runs separated them from victory, which seemed fairly straightforward.

Wood, however, managed to keep composure and conceded just four runs to hand England an incredible win.

Miller finished on 71 off 51 balls, which included five boundaries and two sixes, while Morris remained undefeated on 36 off 22 deliveries, which included three boundaries and two sixes.

Miller struck his ninth half-century in ODI cricket

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Plunkett was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Moeen and Stokes claimed one wicket each.

De Villiers was gutted to have fallen agonisingly short of victory, and said: “I thought the boys played so well at the end, England got their plans well at the end. Unfortunate we didn’t get across the line, but proud of the effort. We lost myself and Quinny together so it could have been easier, but we batted very deep.

“We were a little careless [in the field] and there was a bit of faulty thinking. There were probably four or five overs that went too big and cost us the game. I can’t be unhappy, we fought right to end and probably had it in the back for most of that last half hour.”

Morgan was relieved to have survived South Africa’s late onslaught, and said: “Those are the sorts of games you really want to win. You learn a lot more. The game got away from us quite a lot. Woody was awesome. The tournament is bound to be pretty tight so this sort of prep is ideal.

“We are always trying to improve, Wood and Ball were using different skills than they usually would. The conditions we batted under this morning, it was pretty difficult to get going.”

Stokes was named Man of the Match, and said: “It just shows what a bit of pace on the ball can do. Rabada and Morris show it as well, hard to strike 90mph cleanly. You want to be in those situations. Woody, the nerve he showed, to defend seven was an amazing effort. A massive confidence booster.

“The bowling is getting affected by the knee, got a few more scans coming up, batting and fielding is fine. It’s nice to hit the ball well, to have form behind you. Hopefully we can continue this form.”

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