After South Africa won the first T20 in thrilling fashion, by 1 run, who would have expected yet another tight finish on Friday evening?
That is exactly what happened as England won off the final ball of the match by 2 runs.
The final T20I is at SuperSport Park in Centurion with the series tied at 1-1 and it all to play for. With the T20 World Cup later this year, it would be an incredible boost to both teams to come away here with a series win.
Where it went wrong for South Africa was at the death and this is something they need to correct going forward.
England scored a mammoth 79 runs off the final five overs, as Player of the Match, Mooen Ali played a scintillating knock, striking 39 off 11, which included four sixes and three fours. It was an incredible display of quality cricket shots, and his fifty partnership with the destructive Ben Stokes (47* off 30) off only 16 deliveries was instrumental to England posting the second-highest score at Kingsmead – 204-7.
South Africa’s effort of chasing the 205 target was admirable. Captain Quinton de Kock led the way with the fastest T20 half-century by a South African (17 balls) as South Africa got off to a blinder of a start, scoring their fifty in the fifth over.
However after both openers were dismissed in quick succession, this put added pressure on the remaining batsmen. David Miller (21), JJ Smuts (13) & Andile Phehlukwayo (0) were unable to make an impact.
Incredibly disappointing from Miller though was his inability to rotate the strike, and look for quick singles. For someone of his experience, he should be aware of the importance of keeping the scoreboard moving.
Rassie van der Dussen continues to prove his excellence in this team, no matter the format, no matter the situation. His innings (43* off 26) with Dwaine Pretorius (25 off 13) was brilliant, they kept the hope alive. They struck 44 runs in 19 deliveries to get the equation down to needing 3 off the final 2 balls.
There is only one delivery to bowl in a situation like this, and Tom Curran executed it perfectly, the yorker, something the Proteas failed to do at the death.
Having gone into the first T20 with a batting light team, it was surprising that South Africa opted for the same tactic on Friday. Even more surprising was the decision to drop Dale Steyn.
The JJ Smuts and Beuran Hendricks experiments were given a chance, but their time surely has run out.
As the only other genuine batsman in the squad, Reeza Hendricks should make the playing XI on Sunday for the final T20, as should the experienced Steyn.
SuperSport Park is traditionally a high-scoring ground, and one where you win the toss and bat first.
Thank you Durban for an exceptional game of cricket, and thank you to the incredible crowd that came to support the home team. What a game you experienced.
The final T20 is on Sunday in a bright and sunny SuperSport Park, at 14:30 with the toss promptly at 14:00.
My proposed playing XI:
Quinton de Kock (c & wk), Temba Bavuma, Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Bjorn Fortuin, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi & Dale Steyn