England scored 399/9, their second highest score in One Day Internationals, to defeat South Africa on the Duckworth Lewis method by 39runs yesterday.
A hundred off 73balls by Jos Butler was the highlight of England’s innings. Notable support came from half tons by Joe Root, Ben stokes and Alex Hales.
The highest score of the day came from the South Africa wicketkeeper and opening batsman, Quinton De Kock, who plundered 138 after facing 96 deliveries to keep the Proteas alive in the chase.
The South Africa chase constantly had its momentum dragged back by a regular fall of wickets around De Kock. The rain eventually came down with the Proteas on 250/5, ending the game in England’s favour. Port Elizabeth will host the second of the five match series on Saturday.
Since England were eliminated in the first round of the ICC world cup in 2015, an attacking and brave brand of cricket has been adopted by the team, and results have been pleasing. Led by Captain Eoin Morgan, they have only lost one ODI series since, narrowly going down to Australia. England has beaten world cup finalists New Zealand and Pakistan. Five straight Twenty20 victories have come to the side during that period too.
Jason Roy and Alex Hales started the onslaught, helped by a good pitch and lackluster bowling. Roy made 48runs in 30 deliveries before Morne Morkel got his wicket. Alex Hales continued and formed a 62 run partnership with Joe Root, before falling to Merchant De Lange on 57 and England on 130.
17 overs of crisp batting followed with Butler in control and driving England to the massive total. Jos Butler was not included in England’s test series winning squad against the Proteas, but showed his value in the one day squad, with 11 boundaries and five maximums in his 105 run performance from 76 balls. Surprisingly this was the slowest of Butler’s four ODI tons.
JP Duminy shared a brutal end of Butlers bat with Farhaan Berhardien in a three over outburst that went for 34runs. Imran Tahir eventually got Butler, but not before he had shared fruitful partnerships with Joe Root and Eoin Morgan. Morgan made 23 runs for England.
Ben Stokes added a quick 57 from 38 deliveries, and useful contributions came from Chris Jordan and Moeen Ali lower down the order. England would have certainly been looking to break their record 408 total against New Zealand but fell just short.
In reply, South Africa lost opener Hashim Amla in the third over for six runs to David Willey. Faf Du Plesis joined De Kock at the crease for a brave 110 run partnership in only 83 balls, before Du Plesis was caught in the deep after scoring 55.
De Villiers, after a poor Test series, fell to a brilliant catch by Ben Stokes off Ali, who also snared the wicket of Rilee Rossouw. JP Duminy’s poor form continued after being caught and bowled by Reece Topley.
De Kock was still at the crease partnered by Berhardien when the heavens opened up with just over 16 overs and 150runs remaining in the chase.
Eoin Morgan said the Duckworth/Lewis result was not his ideal way of winning a game, but would still take the win after a very positive batting performance.