Another great game, another series won. Eoin Morgan’s men took an unassailable 2-0 lead over South Africa on Sunday, after winning by four wickets with a ball to spare.
The margin of victory is perhaps a little misleading – England only required three off their final over for victory – but it was another intriguing contest on a tricky pitch. Everyone struggled to time the ball, but the class and patience of Dawid Malan set up another success for the tourists.
Here, we take a look at three things we learned from the second T20 of the series…
England know how to win
Winning, just like losing, is a habit. England, since their white-ball renaissance of 2015, have become rather accustomed to getting positive results in the limited-overs forms of the game. Rarely do they come unstuck, thanks to the depth of their batting and the skills of their bowlers.
At no point during their run chase did the tourists panic and they have their previous successes to thank for that. After losing Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, and Jonny Bairstow to the spin of Tabraiz Shamsi, many less confident sides would undoubtedly have panicked. The big shots would have come at the wrong times and Morgan’s men would have been in a far worse position come the crucial final four overs.
Thankfully for all of an English persuasion, however, this white-ball squad is packed full of players who are ice cool under pressure. For Morgan himself, that seems to come naturally; for others, it’s because they expect to get the job done.
Malan should continue to back himself
Dawid Malan is the number one T20 batsman in the world, according to the ICC rankings. Why on earth, then, is it necessary to talk about the Middlesex man backing himself?
Many have questioned his place in the side, primarily because he seems to be keeping a rather talented batsman out of it, but he has earnt that number three spot. Sunday’s game proved that he has both the technical ability and the temperament to do exactly what is required of him in that top order. He stayed in while others fell around him and was then able to catch up spectacularly to all but see England home.
Malan himself seems to have full confidence in his ability and should continue to stay true to the way he plays. He is proving an essential cog in England’s twenty-over machine.
England are fine-tuning
With the T20 World Cup postponed until next winter, we are in the unusual position of seeing those tournament preparations for the second time in as many years. England highlighted as much with their team selection, as Morgan backed the same eleven players as in Friday’s fixture.
If one feature of the build up to the 2019 World Cup stood out, it was the consistency of selection on England’s part. It will be interesting to see whether Morgan does make any changes in the third and final T20 but the core of his side looks to be taking shape. Questions will linger over Buttler and Bairstow’s positions in the order, and there’s always room for a late contender to stake his claim, but we can expect to see a very similar side in England’s T20 fixtures over the coming months.