BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Eoin Morgan ensured England entered the Twenty20 World Cup with a psychological boost with a half-century that carried them to five-wicket victory over South Africa in their final warm-up match yesterday.
Morgan struck half-dozen fours and a pair of sixes in 63 from 62 balls, as England, chasing 126 for victory from their allocation of 20 overs, reached their target with three balls to spare at Kensington Oval.
Rory Kleinveldt bowled Michael Lumb for four with the fourth ball of the match, and had Kevin Pietersen caught behind for a first-ball duck off the next delivery before Morne Morkel had Craig Kieswetter caught in the deep to leave England tottering on nine for three in the third over.
But Morgan entered and took control of a fourth-wicket stand of 71 with England captain Paul Collingwood, which put their side back on course.
Collingwood was caught at mid-wicket off Johan Botha in the 14th over, and Morgan was caught in the outfield off Rusty Theron to leave England needing 21 from the last 15 balls of the match, which they duly gathered.
Earlier, Albie Morkel struck three fours and one six in the top score of 32 not out, and Jean-Paul Duminy collected two fours and one six in 30 not out from 21 balls to give the Proteas a late boost.
The pair added 59 from 35 balls in an unbroken sixth wicket stand, after South Africa, choosing to bat, subsided to 66 for five in the 15th over.
Loots Bosman fell to Chris Broad for 10 in the fourth over, but South Africa wobbled, when Herschelle Gibbs was run out for one in the fifth over.
South Africa’s batsmen struggled against England’s bowlers on a hard, true pitch, and Smith was stumped off Michael Yardy for 16 in the ninth over, Mark Boucher fell to Graeme Swann for nine in the 12th over, before Yardy bowled Abraham de Villiers for 21.
What should have been a routine run chase turned into a hash by the England top-order, as they too wobbled before Morgan put them back on track.