Temba Bavuma scores a century before David Miller ices the chase for South Africa

In Bloemfontein, Temba Bavuma scores a century

Temba Bavuma hit a courageous century as South Africa won the series against England with the highest successful chase in Bloemfontein and their third-highest in the format. 

They also won 10 World Cup Super League points, moving them into ninth position on the table, barely outside the automatic qualification zone, with four games remaining.

Bavuma’s century, his third in ODIs, came at a crucial moment in his career. After South Africa’s T20 World Cup exit, his white-ball captaincy came under scrutiny; he had gone 33 international innings without a three-figure score. 

He is the only member of the current squad who is not participating in the ongoing SA20, South Africa’s new marquee franchise competition, with his scoring rate under criticism. He set the tone for a statement victory and left England’s much-vaunted line-up in his wake, with half-centuries from Harry Brook, Jos Buttler, and Moeen Ali (for the first time since 2017).

He did not, meanwhile, do it alone. South Africa timed their chase to perfection, never letting the required rate slip away from them. They were 64 for no loss after 10 overs, 164 for 1 at the midway point, and required 156 runs from their final 20 overs, with seven wickets in hand. 

Even as wickets dropped, their scoring pace remained consistent, and they required 70 runs from the final ten overs and just 24 from the final five. South Africa won with five balls to spare thanks to David Miller‘s undefeated 58 and Marco Jansen’s 32.

South Africa’s chase began with Quinton de Kock, who was cleared to bat after leaving the field after 15 overs in England’s innings after being hit on the right thumb by a Brook under-edge. He was brought for an X-ray, which revealed no fracture, although he did not appear fully at ease. 

He was overshadowed by a tenacious Bavuma, who controlled their 77-run stand and scored twice as many runs as de Kock at one stage during the chase. De Kock was trapped by Olly Stone, whom he eventually smashed to midwicket to complete his innings.

That almost went unnoticed by Bavuma, who batted with purpose and scored fast. He was most effective on the on side, where he scored 70 of his total runs. 

He was also the senior partner in a 97-run second-wicket stand with Rassie van der Dussen, who was at the other end when Bavuma, who was suffering from cramp, blasted Adil Rashid through the covers to bring up his century. He exclaimed loudly, pointing to his name on his back and thudding his hand on his heart and the Protea badge. He was then exhausted.

Three overs later, Bavuma swiped Sam Curran onto his own stumps, giving England a chance. Van der Dussen smashed Rashid straight to backward point in the next over, and South Africa appeared to be in trouble. But their depth compensates.

Aiden Markram and Heinrich Klaasen put up 55 runs in 39 balls before Klaasen edged Stone and Buttler took a good catch; Markram went on to score 49 before being bowled by a Rashid googly, leaving Miller and Jansen to do the job. 

They added 65 runs in 46 balls, with Miller improving his finisher status and Jansen improving his allrounder credentials.

South Africa made three changes to the assault that won the series opener on Friday, replacing Kagiso Rabada, Sisanda Magala, and Tabraiz Shamsi with Jansen, Lungi Ngidi, and Keshav Maharaj. After Bavuma chose to field, the bowlers took the lead. Ngidi discovered early seam movement and made the first incision when he bowled Jason Roy with a tucked back delivery. 

Wayne Parnell pinned Dawid Malan on the back pad at the other end, leaving England 33 for 2 in the seventh over and 42 for 2 after 10.

Only until the replacement bowlers entered the game did England start to get any momentum. In spite of being out for a duck on his debut on Friday, Brook displayed class with a solid 80 composed of accurate hitting and deft movement. 

His ramp off Jansen over the slips for six and the way he took on Maharaj were the highlights of his innings. He faced 13 balls from Maharaj, and he scored 19 runs off them, including the single that brought him to fifty.

Ben Duckett mainly watched the action from the sidelines and holed out to Maharaj in the 17th over, bringing Buttler to the crease. The England captain initially let Brook have the lead, but once Brook was out and England had a platform, the captain upped the tempo. 

After 30 overs, they were 161 for 4, but they quickly picked up the pace as Moeen reached his first fifty in 64 matches in an over in which he struck Anrich Nortje for 14 runs. When Moeen was hauled onto his stumps and South Africa could apply the breaks, Nortje got his own back.

They only conceded 21 runs in the following five overs and were putting pressure on England until Buttler caught Ngidi. 

He scored 22 runs, including three sixes, off Ngidi’s eighth over, and Curran came in just in time to help England win the match with a 28-ball 17-run cameo. Including 60 runs in the final four overs, England scored a total of 181 runs in their final 20 overs, but it was not enough to prevent a fifth straight ODI loss.