England start series with win over South Africa

May 25, 2017

England continued their winning run ahead of the ICC Champions trophy by beating South Africa by 72 runs at Headingley.
Skipper Eoin Morgan's century led England to an impressive total of 339-6 after the home side had been wobbling on 198-5 after being put into bat, before South Africa were bowled out for 267. Fans booking corporate hospitality for Champions Trophy games at the Kia Oval and Edgbaston will have increasing reasons to be confident about England's chances.
England's innings started poorly as Jason Roy was caught behind for just one, but Alex Hales and Joe Root took charge, with Hales compiling 61 from 60 balls and Root 37, before both were out trying to smash innocuous deliveries from medium pacer Andile Phehlukwayo.
Ben Stokes made his first England appearance since his starring role in the Indian Premier League and started well, but hit a fierce pull shot straight to David Miller on the midwicket boundary, while Jos Buttler fell for just seven to leave England wobbling.
However, Morgan produced an outstanding innings featuring a series of fine cuts and drives against the spinners and huge legside hits from the seamers. A free hit following a Phehlukwayo no-ball saw him hoick a slower ball into the West Stand, and he reached three figures with a hooked six. It was his tenth one-day international century for England, making him only the second man alongside Marcus Trescothick to achieve the feat. He finally skied a catch to mid off for 107, an innings that had occupied just 93 balls.
By this time, Moeen Ali had opened up in dramatic style, following a circumspect start. Adding 117 with Morgan, he struck three sixes from legspinner Imran Tahir in an over and, after the captain departed, added a flourish at the end that included a six from the final ball of the innings to finish on 77 not out from 51 balls.
South Africa began their chase breezily with a series of elegant drives from Hashim Amla, but Quinton De Kock was caught by Buttler off a skied pull for just five. Despite that setback, the tourists looked well set to challenge when they reached 145-1, with Amla and Faf du Plessis both making half-centuries.
At that point, Mark Wood appealed unsuccessfully for lbw against Amla, but Morgan reviewed and the decision was overturned. The dismissal of the former Test captain for 73 was followed by that of du Plessis for 67 just four runs later, when he edged Plunkett through to Buttler.
Thereafter, the South African innings gradually subsided. A.B. de Villiers, the world number one-ranked one-day international batsman, made a belligerent 45 from 38 balls before holing out off the bowling of Moeen, and with Chris Woakes taking 4-38, the tourists fell well short.
Having won all three matches in the Caribbean last month and both games at home to Ireland earlier in May - both against sides who had not qualified for the ICC Champions Trophy - South Africa represented a significant step-up in class. Victory, and by such a comfortable margin at that, suggests England could be building the momentum that might finally bring them their first global 50-over trophy.

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