England v South Africa: Tourists level T20 series with dramatic three-run win

Second Twenty20 international, Taunton:
South Africa 174-8 (20 overs): De Villiers 46, Smuts 45, Curran 3-33
England 171-6 (20 overs): Roy 67, Bairstow 47, Morris 2-18
South Africa won by three runs
Scorecard

England's Twenty20 series with South Africa will go to a decider after the Proteas levelled the three-game contest with a three-run win at Taunton.

Chasing 175, England were cruising thanks to a stand of 110 between Jason Roy (67) and Jonny Bairstow (47).

But when Bairstow was caught and Roy controversially given out for obstructing the field, momentum swung.

With England needing 12 from the last over, the tourists held their nerve as Liam Dawson missed the final ball.

Debutant Tom Curran had earlier taken 3-33 to restrict South Africa to what looked to be an under-par 174-8.

But this was a much-improved display from AB de Villiers' side, two days after their nine-wicket defeat in Southampton.

They now head to Cardiff with a chance of claiming the series.

Reaction to Roy's dismissal
South Africa bowler Chris Morris: "I said to Jason that it's not a nice way to get out but rules are rules and, at that moment, we had to take what we could. It's unfortunate that you have to appeal to get a decision in this respect - it makes it look worse than it was."
England captain Eoin Morgan: "It's a 50-50 call. You could see both sides. It's a difficult one. We've been in those circumstances before where it's more black and white."
South Africa captain AB de Villiers: "It's up to the umpires to make that call. It's never nice to get out like that."
Daniel Potter on #bbccricket‏: "Sadly it's out - Roy has moved across the wicket to cover the stumps, obstructing the route for a run-out. Ball doesn't need to hit."
Sam Taylor on #bbccricket: "That's an absolute shocker of a decision. Like with Stokes v Australia in slow motion looks intentional. No way at full speed."

England snatch defeat from jaws of victory

England will wonder how they managed to lose a game that for so long they seemed certain to win.

On a small ground and with a team of big-hitting batsmen all the way down to David Willey at 10, the home side will have been confident of chasing down South Africa's total.

They appeared to be doing just that thanks to a rejuvenated Roy, who survived more than one inside edge but grew as his innings wore on, and the brilliant Bairstow, who carried on from his unbeaten 60 in Southampton.

However, the game turned in the space of 10 balls thanks to the excellent Chris Morris, who built the pressure that led to Bairstow being caught by Farhaan Behardien at mid-on, and Roy losing his wicket in unusual fashion.

Having been sent back by Liam Livingstone, he crossed the wicket as he tried to return to his ground and was hit by the throw at the stumps. The umpires deferred to video technology and Roy was adjudged to have deliberately obstructed the field.

England were still in decent shape at 133-3 with just under five overs left but crucially the initiative was now with their opponents.

The cheap dismissals of Jos Buttler (10) and captain Eoin Morgan (six) left debutant Livingstone and Dawson to handle the final over, which was superbly bowled by Andile Phehlukwayo.

Livingstone was run out, leaving Dawson needing to score eight from two balls and, while he struck a one-bounce four from the first, he was unable to connect with the second.

South Africa battle back

After underwhelming displays with bat, ball and in the field in Southampton, South Africa restored some pride with a much better display of both ability and application.

Their standout performers with the bat were JJ Smuts, who made up for playing the first ball of the series on to his own stumps with some clean hitting to amass 45 in 35 balls, and captain De Villiers, who appears to be returning to form having added 46 to his unbeaten 65 two days ago.

However, only Behardien would make a further significant contribution with the bat, scoring a 21-ball 32, as England's bowlers gained the upper hand.

Curran, who was born in South Africa, took his first international wicket with just his second ball as Reeza Hendricks played on, and would later dismiss Morris and Phehlukwayo to become only the fifth England bowler to take three or more wickets on his T20 international debut.

Plunkett claimed two wickets, with Willey, Chris Jordan and Dawson taking one each.

'It is great for the game of cricket in South Africa' - what they said

England captain Eoin Morgan on Sky Sports: "When Jason got out, no-one seemed to take the reins from then. That's disappointing. Given the position we were in, we should have won."

South Africa captain AB de Villiers: "Our game plans were better and we had better energy with the bat and ball. We showed the South Africa never-say-die attitude.

"We've had a tough month here so that win means a lot to us. We love sport, there's great love for the game of cricket back home, and to see us come out on top means a lot."

England debutant Tom Curran on Test Match Special: "It would have been sweeter with the win but I'm delighted with the way I bowled. I've been bowling well recently for the Lions and Surrey, my game's in a good place.

"I had nerves today and there's room for improvement but if I had been offered those figures this morning, I'd have bitten your arm off."

Top Stories