The bowlers for England couldn’t defend 342 runs, and Temba Bavuma’s century helped South Africa win the second one-day international, giving them a 2-0 lead in the series with one game left.
England’s score was built on Jos Buttler’s unbeaten 94 off 82 balls, and Harry Brook’s 80 was also very good.
But England’s attack had trouble getting through at important times, while South Africa’s captain Bavuma’s 109 runs off 102 balls set the stage for the chase.
David Miller’s unbeaten 58 got the home team to the finish line with five balls and five wickets to spare. This was the third-highest ODI chase for the home team.
It could be a big win for the Proteas as they try to get into the World Cup without having to qualify through the ICC Super League.
England was asked to bat first, and Brook and Buttler’s important knocks helped them get back from a bad stretch of bowling that left them at 32-2.
Moeen Ali helped out with a useful 51 off 45 balls as he and Buttler put on 106 runs for the fifth wicket before the South African bowlers came back.
England’s score was cut down near the end of their innings, but Jos Buttler and Sam Curran (28), who scored 30 runs in the last two overs, gave them a strong finish.
Bavuma played freely on his way to a hundred, which took 90 balls, but he had trouble with cramps in the last part of his innings and was bowled by Curran.
Rassie van der Dussen (38 runs) and Aiden Markram (49 runs) helped out, and Miller sealed the win with a big six on the first ball of the last over after a composed 37-ball innings.
Bowlers have a hard time, and England loses its fifth ODI in a row.
The coach and captain of England’s limited-overs team aren’t too worried yet, especially since a number of key players aren’t playing in this series.
But there’s no getting around the fact that five straight ODI losses make for uncomfortable reading as Matthew Mott and Jos Buttler try to plan how to defend the World Cup they won so dramatically at home in 2019.
England’s bowlers, especially Chris Woakes (0-60), Reece Topley (0-74), and Moeen Ali (0-32), had a hard time. Buttler had to change his team around a lot because of this.
Olly Stone (2-48) was by far the most cost-effective bowler because of how fast he was, while Adil Rashid (2-72) was good at times.
That shouldn’t take anything away from South Africa’s performance. They followed up their 27-run win on the same ground in the first ODI with a tough bowling performance and calm batting, led by Bavuma’s positive intent.
Their win gave them more confidence that they would make it to the World Cup in India later this year. On Wednesday, they will play the last ODI at The Oval in Kimberley, and then they will play two more ODIs against the Netherlands later in the year.
Brook’s many styles are measured
One thing that went well for England was how Brook played.
England has a lot of options when it comes to batting, and since the World Cup is in India in eight months, every ODI between now and then is like an audition.
Brook’s growing talent in more than one type of cricket has already been noticed in T20Is and Tests, but his three-ball duck in the first ODI was not a good way to start the 50-over game.
Lungi Ngidi and Wayne Parnell threw him in the middle of a tense opening spell in the seventh over. He could have given up, but his calmness and skill helped him lead England to a good score.
He then used the depth of the crease to his advantage against Keshav Maharaj’s left-arm spin and hit him for two sixes. This was especially impressive because he had carefully chosen when to be aggressive.
At the same time, he was up to the challenge of South Africa’s fast bowlers. He scored runs all around the wicket and knew when to play hard hooks and when to hold back.
Brook had a chance to get his first ODI century, but Markram’s part-time off-breaks beat him up because he was too excited and maybe a little too sure of himself.
He’ll be upset that he didn’t reach the mark, and he’ll also feel bad that his contribution didn’t help the tourists win the game.
“Chasing 340 will give us a lot of confidence,” said Jos Buttler, captain of England: “South Africa bowled really well early on, so for the guys to come back and score 340 was a great job.”
“It was a great game with a thrilling chase.”
Temba Bavuma, the captain of South Africa and player of the match, said, “It’s very special. England is always a tough team to play against. Your skills are always put to the test, and it’s a good chance for us to see how we play. Trying to catch 340 in this way will make us feel very sure of ourselves. We had a good time. It was a good day and a good trip.”
On his 109, he said, “It was a lot of fun. These wickets are nice and work well for how we want to play. I’ve also reminded myself how to get to 100, and I hope I can keep going.”