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England v South Africa IT20: Review

2017 was a major year for the Cooper Associates County Ground and the highlight occurred in June when Taunton played host to it’s first England International since 1983.

A capacity crowd enjoyed a dramatic encounter and now we take a look back at that match.

Here is the match report as it appeared on this website on that very special day for Somerset:

The NatWest IT20 series will go down to the final match at Cardiff after South Africa beat England by three runs in a thriller at the Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton.

England’s second NatWest IT20 against South Africa went down to the wire as the visitors won a thrilling match.

The hosts restricted the Proteas to 174/8 in front of a packed house at Taunton – captain AB de Villiers top scoring with a rapid 46 off 20 balls – while debutant Tom Curran starred with figures of 3/33.

Despite a swashbuckling 67 off 45 balls for opener Jason Roy alongside 47 for Jonny Bairstow, a middle-order collapse saw England fall three runs short of victory after 20 overs.

The series will go down to a winner-takes-all decider at Cardiff on Sunday.

As promised, captain Eoin Morgan shuffled the pack, bringing in debutants Curran and Liam Livingstone, as well as Liam Plunkett. Mason Crane, Mark Wood and Alex Hales were the players to step aside.

Surrey star Curran immediately impressed with the ball taking a wicket with just his second international delivery, opener Reeza Hendricks bottom edging onto his stumps. Cue wild celebrations from the 22-year-old.

JJ Smuts and Mangaliso Mosehle fought back in a 32-run partnership before Liam Plunkett struck, his slower ball bouncer evading the latter who feathered through to Jos Buttler for 15.

Proteas skipper AB de Villiers showed his intent from the off, crunching 18 off the tenth over before losing partner Smuts (45) to a Liam Dawson full toss.

De Villiers continued to accelerate, getting down on one one knee to Willey and powering a huge six over his shoulder and into the River Tone. But there was relief for England as he miscued a slog straight into the hands of skipper Morgan in the covers the very next ball.

Curran took the second and third wickets of a brilliant debut in the 19th over, Chris Morris heaving his slower ball straight into the safe hands of Roy at long-on before bowling Andile Phehlukwayo with a perfect yorker to finish with maiden figures of 4-0-33-3.

Chris Jordan finished well at the death, trapping Fabien Behardien lbw, and England were set 175 to win the series.

The England batsmen started the chase strongly despite losing opener Sam Billings in the second over for three. The Kent batsman top-edged a Morris delivery and David Miller held onto the catch.

Roy and Bairstow took the attack to the South African bowlers, racking up a 110-run partnership full of show-stopping shots. Bairstow creamed a glorious cover drive for four off Morris to get off the mark before Roy rocked onto his back foot and powerfully swatted Phehlukwayo away through midwicket for another boundary.

The runs kept flowing with Bairstow biffing back-to-back boundaries past long-on to take England’s target within 100 runs after nine overs.

Roy hit a huge six straight down the ground to bring up his half-century from just 33 balls. But just when it seemed Bairstow would match him – unbeaten on 47 – the Yorkshireman lofted the ball up to mid-on where Behardien took a simple grab.

It was the beginning of the end as England lost five wickets for 47 runs in a middle order collapse that was to prove their undoing.

Roy was the next to go and in unusual circumstances, to say the least. Having been sent back by Livingstone, Roy attempted to run into his ground and blocked the fielder’s throw in the process. The on-field umpires sent the decision upstairs and the third umpire gave Roy out for obstructing the field in the first decision of its kind in an international T20 match. He departed for 67 off 45 balls.

Though England were still favourites at 133/3, the next four wickets fell cheaply with Buttler (10) and Morgan (6) unable to make match-winning contributions.

That left debutant Livingstone alongside Dawson at the crease for the final over, which was brilliantly bowled by Phehlukwayo. Livingstone was run out and Dawson could only manage four of the eight needed to secure victory from the final two balls.

It leaves the series tied at 1-1 as we head into the decider at Cardiff on Sunday.

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09/07/2022 19:00 - The Cooper Associates County Ground