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Morris help South Africa level series in Taunton

South Africa players celebrating the win
South Africa players celebrating the win

South Africa 174-8 (de Villiers 46) beat
England 171-6 (Roy 67) by three runs
Second Twenty20 International in Taunton

Chris Morris bowled a brilliant spell picking two wickets and conceding just 18 runs in four overs as South Africa made a strong comeback to edge out England by three runs in the second Twenty20 International in Taunton to level the series 1-1.

Dane Paterson made his debut for South Africa as England decided to field first on winning the toss. Tom Curran and Liam Livingstone won their first cap for the hosts.

JJ Smuts (45) started the innings with a lot of positivity scoring two boundaries and a six in the first two overs but the Proteas lost Reeza Hendricks (7) in the fourth over when Curran (3-33) got his maiden wicket by castling him.

Mangaliso Mosehle (15) was promoted up the order as he and Smuts struck a six and a boundary each to take South Africa to 55 for one at the end of seven overs.

Just when things looked good for the Proteas, Mosehle edged a Liam Plunkett (2-36) delivery behind the stumps following which AB de Villiers stunned the crowd with breathtaking stroke play.

The South Africa captain took the attack to Plunkett in the the 10th over, plundering him for three boundaries and a six to take the total to 84 for two at halfway mark. Smuts tried to emulate his captain as he smashes a six and a four in the next over before he holed out to deep square leg off Liam Dawson (1-38).

Even though, South Africa managed 34 runs in the next four overs, they lost key wickets of de Villiers and David Miller (8) to David Willey (1-29) and Plunkett respectively.

Just when innings were losing momentum with a double strike from Curran in the penultimate over, Farhaan Behardien (32) played a handy 21-ball knock to take Proteas to 174 for eight in the 20 overs. They were also greatly aided by the England fielders, who put down a couple of chances in the death overs.

Sam Billings' (3) promotion at the top did not help England's cause as he fell in the second over bowled by Morris (2-18).

Jason Roy (67) struck four boundaries in the third over to take the score to 31 for one and by the end of the powerplay, England reached 51 for one.

Both Roy and Jonny Bairstow (47) looked at their aggressive best as they added 110 runs for the second wicket off just 70 deliveries to lay a solid foundation for the chase.

It was Morris, who once again provided the breakthrough when he had Bairstow caught in the 14th over and Roy, who crossed a well compiled fifty was out obstructing the field two overs later.

England needed 40 runs off the final four overs with seven wickets in hand. Jos Buttler (10) and Eoin Morgan (6) fell in the 18th and the 19th over respectively and England were left with 12 runs to get off the final over bowled by Andile Phehlukwayo (1-34).

Phehlukwayo conceded just three runs in the first three deliveries and accounted for Livingstone (16) in the next delivery leaving the home side eight runs to get off the final two deliveries. Even though Dawson (7 not out) hit a boundary in the penultimate delivery, Phehlukwayo managed to bowl a dot off the final ball to seal a three run win for Proteas.

Morris was awarded the man of the match. With the series level at 1-1, both teams will lock horns in the final game on Sunday.

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