The second encounter between hosts England and South Africa produced a nail-biting finish at Southampton as Mark Wood delivered a superb full final over to see England clinch an improbable win by just 2 runs. England has clinched the series with this win as the third and final game will be played at Lords on Monday.
The fielding was poor once again for South Africa as they dropped five catches to see Ben Stokes go on to notch up second ton of his career. Stokes had a slice of luck going his way a he dropped twice before making South Africa pay for their errors. He scored 101 runs off 79 runs to see England post 330 runs from 50 overs. England Captain Eoin Morgan once again played well while Jos Butler’s late flourish at the end meant that the side had a big total to defend going into the second half of the game.
South Africa started well in the chase as openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock produced vital 43-run stand to lay down a good foundation. Amla perished but de Kock played well as he kept on attacking the bowlers. Faf du Plessis played a strange innings as he eventually edged one to the keeper off Plunkett trying to run the ball down to the third-man. AB de Villiers came to the crease with South Africa placed in a precarious situation. De Kock and de Villiers produced a partnership of 96 runs to put South Africa back in the hunt to chase down the target posted by England.
David Miller came to the crease under pressure after failing in the first game. The left-handed batsman played well and scored unbeaten 71 runs but could not take his side across the finishing line. Chris Morris also struck meaty blows at the end but Miller and Morris failed to time the ball in the last two overs to see England eke out a close win by 2 runs. Mark Wood was spot-on with his bowling as he kept the batsmen guessing mixing up full deliveries with an odd short-pitch one.
England will be chuffed by their performance as South Africa will now play for pride in the last game as the sides will meet at Lords Cricket Ground on 29th May.