England win series but South Africa secure big win before ICC Champions Trophy

May 30, 2017

England secured a 2-1 win over South Africa in the Royal London one-day international series over the Bank Holiday weekend, but suffered what they hope will just be a pre-tournament blip when the visitors won the final match by seven wickets at Lord's.
The second match of the series at the Ageas Bowl had produced a thriller, with Ben Stokes making a magnificent 101 from 79 balls and Jos Buttler returning to form with an unbeaten 65 from 53 balls as England piled up 330-6. 
A similar score at Headingley in the opening game had proved well beyond South Africa, but this time they laid the platform for a victory charge through a 104-run stand for the third wicket between Quinton de Kock and A.B. de Villiers. Although England fought back to remove De Kock for 98 and de Villiers for 52, a superb 71 not out from 51 balls by David Miller and 35 from 22 balls by Chris Morris took them to the brink. 
Both hit two sixes and with just seven to win from the final over, it took some magnificent death bowling by Mark Wood to thwart them, with Morris swiping and failing to make firm contact when four were needed from the final ball. 
The two-run win was the perfect chance for England to demonstrate they can hold their nerve to win tight matches, something that could be vital if they are to win the Champions Trophy. Fans can still get corporate hospitality packages for the matches at the Kia Oval and Edgbaston.
Defeat at Lord's was all but inevitable after England, losing the third toss in a row, slipped to 20-6 in bowler-friendly conditions. A fine half-century by Jonny Bairstow helped them reach 153, aided by 37 from debutant Toby Roland-Jones, but it was far too small a target to defend. 
Speaking to the BBC Test Match Special radio programme after the loss, captain Eoin Morgan said: "Today was just a bit of a hiccup."
English fans will hope he is right, because with England securing a series win over the number one-ranked side in 50-over cricket, expectations will be high going into the tournament.

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