The second T20 International match between England and South Africa at Cardiff on 28th July was top cricket news, which was everything a true cricket fan expected. Hendricks (53), Rossouw (96*), and Phehlukwayo (3/39) all contributed to the South Africa total of 207 for three. 

South Africa beat England by 58 runs in Cardiff to even the two-match Twenty20 International series before the next match on Sunday at the Ageas Bowl.

Only 24 hours after losing by 41 runs in Bristol on Wednesday night, the Proteas managed to salvage a 1-1 tie. They are now 0-1 in the series after the defeat. There were just 20 balls left in the game when Tabraiz Shamsi (three for 27) and Andile Phehlukwayo (three for 39) successfully defended a score of 207 for three, thanks to Rilee Rossouw’s 96 not out.

After the Proteas won the toss and decided to bowl first in the first innings, Jos Buttler requested to watch his team’s performance while chasing. The Proteas were happy to oblige. In the first three overs of the game. 

Prelude act Reeza Hendricks was perfect for Rossouw, the main attraction. He followed up Bristol’s half-century with another one here before eventually being removed for 53. This ended a stand of 73 with Rossouw, with Rossouw having 39 at this point, with 8.3 overs remaining. Since Tristan Stubbs was unable to replicate his six-heavy hitting that resulted in his 72 runs scoring off only 28 deliveries, the older man was responsible for 57 of the remaining 95 runs.

England’s on-field performance was lacking, as seen by several inaccurate lines and lengths, and fielding errors. To make up for the 51 runs he lost when he dropped Hendricks at fine leg, Gleeson took care of the right-hander in the following over. The most costly catch of the two was Buttler’s grounded leg-side grab off Rossouw, who had just 37 at the time.

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While Chris Jordan’s four-run over in the 20th over gave the home team something to look forward to before the break, it was still a disappointing performance. To put England in the race, Buttler struck a 6-6-4 off of Phehlukwayo, which was his first of the night, and it placed them in contention for victory. The delivery of Phehlukwayo’s fourth ball was delayed. 

The only reason England had a chance to win was that Jonny Bairstow and Liam Livingstone were still at the crease with 42 balls left to achieve 100 runs. This was the only factor that gave England a chance to prevail. As Bairstow demonstrated on Wednesday with eight sixes in his 53-ball 90, the only way to escape this position was to have the capacity to smash boundaries at will. This was the only option for them to get 90 runs. When the partnership was broken in 14 balls by Phehlukwayo and Rabada catching them at backward point and behind, there were just 67 runs left for the tail to defend. This occurred when there were only 67 runs left to defend.

Finally, the team that was responsible for fielding was able to take three more wickets while conceding just eight runs. The dismissal of Richard Gleeson was the result of a rather baffling judgment made by the DRS. South Africa emerged victorious in the end, as they had done often during the course of the game.

  • Rossouw’s reaping –

Both Rossouw’s ability and what South Africa has lost over the last six years were highlighted by his goal. Even though it wasn’t a century, it served as a poignant reminder of both. His decision to join the Kolpaks when he was still at the peak of his powers was especially hurtful, given he was still playing for Hampshire and Somerset in England at the time. Before Wednesday’s T20I, he had not played for the Proteas since October 2016, when he last appeared for them.

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The prodigal son, on the other hand, has matured into a man, as seen by the maturity of his performance in this game. Reece Topley and Moeen Ali were two of the spinners he didn’t target, and it was clear that the left-handed batter couldn’t take advantage of their off-spin. However, he did well against Gleeson, Jordan, and Adil Rashid. It took him only nine balls from the leg-spinner to rack up 18 runs. As a result of Stubbs taking up half of the last over, Rossouw most likely would have scored his maiden international Twenty20I hundred. The 32-year-old is, however, clearly attempting to make up for lost time following a spectacular season in the Vitality Blast for Somerset, in which he scored 623 runs at a strike rate of 192.28. He is trying to make up for a lost time.

  • Should I use my dominant or my weaker hand? Do I need to worry about this too much –

As soon as Eoin Morgan remarked that it would take a gutsy player to do so, Buttler pushed Bairstow deeper down the order. This is only one example of how both sides used right-hand-left-hand combinations on a regular basis, despite the fact that this particular combination was not even close to being the most lethal.

In this situation, the mismatch in square limits between the two squares was to blame. Stubbs was the first right-handed batsman David Miller permitted to come to bat before the stand-in captain, and Rossouw worked his way through the innings from the fourth over onwards as a left-handed batter. At the same time, when England’s Dawid Malan was out, Moeen joined the inning at No. 4 instead of Bairstow. Sam Curran came in at number six, one position ahead of Liam Livingstone, after Moeen himself was out for an audacious total of 28.

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However, considering the performance of Stubbs (72 off 28) and Moeen (52 off 18) the night before, the reasons for the promotions were well merited. Then there’s the reality that Bairstow was already on the field by the ninth inning, and Rossouw was always going to be Hendricks’ third-place partner in the order. These two facts alone are sufficient to render this argument irrelevant. Although the method was sound, there was no discernible advantage for the user in this case.

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