Dawid Malan scored a spitfire 78    Getty Images
Dawid Malan scored a spitfire 78 Getty Images

England‘s debutant top-order batsman Dawid Malan had a memorable debut, when he scored a spitfire 78, which eventually led to England’s 2-1 series win over visitors South Africa. He achieved the feat during the third and final Twenty20 International (T20I) on Sunday, which England won by 19 runs. Malan also became the English debutant to have the highest score in a T20I. England posted a competitive total of 181 for the loss of eight wickets, courtesy Malan’s historic 78, as the bowlers too did a tremendous job to restrict South Africa to 162 for the loss of seven wickets, as Chris Jordan’s 3 for 31 was heavily acclaimed as one of the pivotal reasons for the win. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: England vs South Africa 2017, 3rd T20I at Cardiff

Earlier, South Africa skipper AB de Villiers won the toss and elected to field first, as he made a change in the form of Tabriaz Shamsi, who was replaced by leg-spinner Imran Tahir. As for England, surprising Morgan chose to drop himself, while Jos Buttler led the side. Among the other changes, England Malan along with Alex Hales were back in the side, while Mason Crane too was back to replace Liam Dawson. England, however, were off to a shaky start, losing their opening wicket with just 13 runs on the board as Jason Roy’s poor form continued again and he fell for mere eight in the second over.

Nevertheless, England hardly had any reason to panic as Hales, along with Malan put up a splendid 105-run stand, with Hales contributing 32, while Malan contributed 70 runs in the stand. Eventually, Malan scored his maiden T20I half-century off 31 deliveries, including seven fours and a couple of sixes. The partnership was broken following the dismissal of Hales for 36 in the 13th over. FULL CRICKET UPDATES: England vs South Africa 2017, 3rd T20I at Cardiff

Malan continued this destructive approach, but just six balls later, he fell for a healthy 78 off 44 deliveries, including 12 fours and a couple of sixes, with a strike rate of 177, while the score read 127 for the loss of three wickets. Following his dismissal, there were hardly any partnerships, as the next big partnership came between Sam Billings and Buttler, who together, put up a 39-run stand for the fourth wicket, before Billings fell for mere 12 in the 18th over at the score of 166.

Following his dismissal, the English batsmen started falling like a pile of cards, while South African pacer, Dane Paterson, who finished with the figures of 4 for 32, twice came in a position to take a hat-trick. However, the luck was not on his side today. Nevertheless, England managed to restrain themselves from getting bowled out and finished on a challenging total of 181 for the loss of eight wickets.

During the chase, South Africa too were off to a shaky start as they lost their opening wicket with just 11 runs on the board, in the form of Reeza Handricks, who fell for an unfortunate duck in the second over. Just 11 runs later, it was Chris Morris, who too made his way back after being dismissed for mere eight to Jordan in the fifth over.

Nevertheless, it was followed by a steady 37-run stand between JJ Smuts and skipper AB de Villiers, with Smuts contributing 22 and de Villiers contributing 15 in the stand, Smuts was dismissed for a subtle 29 in the 10th over, at the score of 59, while de Villiers followed him back for a strong 35 the very next over, as the score reached 82 for the loss of four wickets.

Following their dismissal, it was the pair of Mangaliso Mosehle and Andile Phehlukwayo, who gave South Africa an unexpected hope, as both the batsmen played some good cricket from thereon, providing late fightback. The two contributed to a 54-run stand for the seventh wicket, before Mosehle fell for a humble 36 at the end of the 18th over as the score reached 145.

Nevertheless, Phehlukwayo continued his aggressive approach. However, it was too late, and with 37 required off the final over, it was almost game over for South Africa, as they succumbed to a 19-run defeat, while England won the series 2-1. Malan deservedly was adjudged the Man of the Match.

Brief scores

England 181 for 8 in 20 overs (Alex Hales 36, Dawid Malan 78; Dane Paterson 4 for 24) beat South Africa 162 for 7 in 20 overs (AB de Villiers 35, Mangaliso Mosehle 36; Chris Jordan 3 for 31) by 19 runs.

Man of the Match: Dawid Malan (England)

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