Bavuma century sets up series win for South Africa

BLOEMFONTEIN: South African captain Temba Bavuma hit a century to lead his team to a series-clinching five-wicket win in the second one-day international against England at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Sunday.

Bavuma hit 109 as South Africa chased down an England total of 342 for seven, winning with five balls to spare.

Bavuma battled cramps shortly before reaching his hundred. With his score on 96 there was a lengthy break while he received treatment. He reacted in emotional fashion when he hit the next ball from Adil Rashid through the covers for four.

He thumped his chest and pointed to his name on the back of his shirt. He was the only member of the South African team not signed up for the country’s new Twenty20 league and his place in the national white-ball teams had been questioned because of a perceived inability to score at the rapid rate required in modern limited overs cricket.

But he was in outstanding form on Sunday as he spearheaded South Africa’s third-highest successful run chase, facing only 102 balls and hitting 14 fours and a six.

“It was very special,” said Bavuma. “It was very enjoyable. I managed to hit a few out of the middle.”

Bavuma said it was a confidence-boosting performance from his team, who have yet to qualify automatically for the World Cup later this year. “We knew we had to come out and play. We played the conditions, which were good for batting.”

Bavuma sent England in to bat, reasoning correctly that there could be early life in the pitch. England struggled initially, losing both openers inside the first seven overs, but prospered as batting conditions eased.

Harry Brook, playing in his second one-day international after being dismissed for nought in the first match on Friday, made 80 off 75 balls. Captain Jos Buttler hit an unbeaten 94 off 82 deliveries.

Moeen Ali was also in fine form for England, hitting 51 off 45 balls and sharing a fifth wicket stand of 106 with Buttler.

There was a brief lull after Ali’s dismissal but England scored 60 runs off the last four overs, with Sam Curran hitting three sixes in scoring 28.

“We didn’t expect the ball to swing as much as it did at the start but to come back and post 340 was a fantastic effort,” said Buttler. “It was a brilliant game of cricket and a great chase by South Africa.”

Bavuma and Quinton de Kock made a fast start, putting on 77 for the first wicket in 12 overs. All the South African batsmen made contributions and the hosts were always up with or close to the required rate. David Miller hit 58 not out off 37 balls and finished the match with a six off Chris Woakes.

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