Composed England clinch ODI series with last-ball thriller against South Africa

Ross Houston
June 11, 2017

Just over two years since a defeat by Bangladesh in Adelaide sealed their embarrassing first-round exit from the 2015 World Cup, England face the Tigers in the Champions Trophy opener at The Oval on Thursday, with genuine optimism that they can at last win a first major one-day global tournament.

Rabada's three-wicket burst in one over left England reeling at 20-6 inside the first five overs, the first time in an ODI that half a dozen wickets fell in the first 30 balls of a match.

A collapse of four wickets in seven balls, spearheaded by Rabada's pace and clever seam bowling from left-armer Parnell, meant England made their worst start to a one-day innings at Lord's.

England gave an ODI debut to Middlesex seamer Toby Roland-Jones on his Lord's home ground, with Middlesex teammate Steven Finn recalled together with David Wiley and Jonny Bairstow.

England's hopes of a 3-0 whitewash, after taking an unassailable lead with a narrow win at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday, therefore came to nothing - as did pretensions to beginning the Champions Trophy against Bangladesh at The Oval on Thursday on a nine-match winning streak.

South Africa reached the semi-finals but Kirsten, who had already announced he did not plan to renew his contract, acknowledged they "choked" when they were beaten by the hosts.

In all-rounder Ben Stokes they have one of the world's best, with the Durham hero paid a record $2.16 million to take part before being named the tournament's most valuable player on the field as well.

The Proteas had struggled in the opening two one-day internationals with England but finally found their feet on Monday, perfectly timed for the start of the Champions Trophy this week.

But South Africa – often accused of ‘choking in pressure situations – saw Miller and Chris Morris (36 not out) fail to score the runs they required as Ball and fast bowler Wood held their nerve.

Stokes is box-office unmissable in all disciplines and, as England's first change, immediately proved it again as soon as he got the ball in his hands.

England, who once disdained the Indian Premier League, are now happy to let players miss internationals so they can extend their time in the lucrative Twenty20 event.

South Africa, the worlds top-ranked ODI side, needed 20 off the last two overs chasing a target of 331 yesterday.

Earlier, England profited from at least six dropped catches after being sent into bat. "In The Rose Bowl we were 37 after 10 overs and still posted over 300, today was just not our day".

Despite losing three wickets at 101, Duminy and captain AB de Villiers took South Africa home easily. Only Joe Root was to buck the trend when he was dismissed by two after Wayne Parnell trapped him LBW. "I have been feeling good over the last couple of months, I didn't get too many games in the IPL but I still felt good working hard on my game in the nets". "Always a pleasure. Hopefully we can go into the Champions Trophy on a high".

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