Rassie van der Dussen and Faf du Plessis did their best to ward off the disgrace of whitewash at home, but Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan went on a tough hunt with nine wickets and 14 balls.
SA fought their way through the middle order duo to come to 191/3 in their 20 overs. But a visceral attack by Buttler and Malan at the highest level in a world record of 167 balls out of 90 caused England to get that score in 17. 4 overs.
From an English perspective it was intense and exhilarating, but from an SA perspective it was a sobering experience. It was a turkey shoot in every possible way.
Failures went for six and when the ball was in the middle it sailed further into the sky of Cape Town on a night when Quinton de Kock’s protégés did not go well.
Malan, who should have dropped out on 37 when De Kock missed a direct chance in game nine, drove with seven fours and a six to a 26-ball 50 and brutalized the South African attack.
He finished a show with 99 not out of 47 balls with 11 fours and five sixes, but he missed a chance of 100 when he took a single with one needed out of the last ball of the game.
Buttler, 67, who took six balls to stray from the mark, hit his 50 balls out of 34 but squeezed all the benefits home when given the chance.
After shrugging Jason Roy in the fourth game against Anrich Nortjé, they played themselves in and crushed the unfortunate hosts in an incredible, at first measured, then unbridled aggression.
When England slacked off with bowling intensity, they made up for it with their commanding punching display that robbed SA of the consolation gain.
South African teams are at their best when they have nothing to lose and the Proteas have summed that up. Her approach was impressive despite the early and rather unnecessary losses of De Kock, 17, Temba Bavuma, 32 and Reeza Hendricks, 13, but came when it was least needed.
That approach was absent from the first two games, where England’s clever bowling and wise use of conditions limited the SA.
An unchanged England served the same purpose early on, but got lost and withered in the fierce heat of the Van der Dussen / Du Plessis attack.
Du Plessis and Van der Dussen both showed glimpses of the SA in both lost games, but didn’t quite have the same cross-border effects. Van der Dussen wasn’t out of shape but was the most scrutinized for his limitless knock in Paarl, while his 28-Ball 37 had three sixes on Friday – but the rest of the runs were from 25 balls.
There was a kink time, but not the maximum impact in the minimum time required for T20 international cricket. The inhibitions were removed in the undefeated alliance with the fourth wicket, which was worth 127, with the 50-run milestone dropping off 36 balls while hitting the 100-run mark at 59 balls.
Van der Dussen’s 50s scored 23 balls with four fours and three sixes. In the process, he beat Jofra Archer for 22 runs, his most expensive in T20 cricket. No prisoners were taken on his 32-ball stroke with five fours and five sixes. Du Plessis was happy to play second fiddle in his 37-Ball 52 with five fours and three sixes, but the important part was that SA had 84 runs in the last five overs and 125 in the last 10. However, Malan and Buttler had other ideas.
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South African national cricket team, English cricket team, cricket, Dawid Malan, One Day International, Jos Buttler, Twenty20 International
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