Dawid Malan hits 78 as hosts win Twenty20 series

Malan has scored 3,459 domestic Twenty20 runs for Middlesex, including two centuries

Dawid Malan hit an aggressive 78 on debut to help England beat South Africa by 19 runs and win the Twenty20 series 2-1 at Cardiff.

Malan targeted South Africa’s seamers, striking 12 fours and two sixes to help England post 181-8.

Chris Jordan took 3-31 and Tom Curran – in only his second game – 2-22 to restrict the Proteas in their chase.

AB de Villiers made 39 and Mangaliso Mosehle 36 off 22 balls, but South Africa could manage only 162-7.

England, returning to the venue of their Champions Trophy semi-final defeat by Pakistan, put in a professional performance to wrap up the series.

Malan made the highest score by an England player on T20 debut, beating Paul Collingwood’s 46 in England’s first T20 in 2005, before the bowlers tidied the innings up.

England, whose next white-ball series is not until September against West Indies, begin a four-Test series against South Africa on 6 July.

Professional England outperform Proteas

It was a polished performance from England’s bowlers, using the short ball to discomfort South Africa, and they were backed up by some strong fielding.

Leg-spinner Mason Crane, who played in the opening T20 at Southampton, was put under pressure as de Villiers struck him for consecutive sixes.

However, the 20-year-old showed admirable restraint, tossing up a delivery and drawing the error out of the batsman as de Villiers slapped the ball to Hales at mid-wicket.

Crane rounded off his spell with a superb over, conceding only two runs as England turned the screw.

The Proteas were lacklusture. Of the top six, only De Villiers and opener JJ Smuts (29) reached double figures and it took some big hitting from wicketkeeper Mosehle to push their total up.

England’s seamers were excellent, with Curran in particular showing a maturity at the end of the innings as he bowled full and straight.

The result means that the visitors have won only two of their six limited-overs matches on this tour.

Malan fires on international debut

Dawid Malan hit an unbeaten 125 against South Africa A for England Lions in June
Dawid Malan hit an unbeaten 125 against South Africa A for England Lions in June

England captain Eoin Morgan chose to rest himself for the match, a decision that initially drew criticism given that this was a must-win game for England, but big-hitting Malan adapted quickly to international cricket.

Brought to the crease after Jason Roy fell for eight, Malan left his first delivery but pulled the second ferociously into the stands for six.

On a pitch tinged with green, the Middlesex left-hander took on the short ball against the seamers.

He did not let up against a change of pace, flicking leg-spinner Imran Tahir over his shoulder to bring up his half-century from 31 deliveries.

Malan and Alex Hales, who was struggling to run after edging the ball onto his knee, put on 105 runs in 10.3 overs.

When Malan finally fell, caught at long-on as he tried to strike Tahir for six, stand-in captain Jos Buttler struck two flat sixes to push England above 180.

England show strength in depth

The manner in which England went about such a calm and assured victory will be more heartening giving the changes they made to their side.

As well as Morgan being rested, England gave Crane another opportunity, as well as Curran.

For South Africa, it was a disappointing return, given how strong they were in the closing stages at Taunton.

They were sloppy in the field to begin with. Andile Phehlukwayo’s drop to reprieve Hales on 13 was so surprising that the batsman had turned to walk back to the pavilion.

South Africa will take some comfort in the performance of right-armer Paterson, who was twice on a hat-trick in the final overs thanks to his mixture of yorkers and slower balls.

However, it was England who controlled the majority of the game.