England’s Dawid Malan joked that he “needs to go back to maths class” after missing out on a hundred by one run after a superb knock against South Africa.
The left-hander thumped an unbeaten 99 from 47 balls, smoking an unbroken 167 with Jos Buttler (67no off 46) in just 85 deliveries, as England reached their target of 192 in 17.4 overs to seal a 3-0 Twenty 20 international series sweep and move top of the rankings.
Malan hit the match-winning run on 98 and says he worried how turning down a single would look after captain Eoin Morgan voiced his displeasure at the batsman not running off the last ball last year in order to preserve his not out after completing a hundred against New Zealand.
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“I knew there were five (balls of the over) left but I don’t know how it was going to go down if I turned down a single,” said Malan, the No 1-ranked T20I batsman in the world.
“I knew I had to hit two sixes (to convert his 88) to win the game and get a hundred, I got a six and a four so I guess I didn’t calculate that too well. I need to go back to maths class.”
Malan’s innings – which contained 11 fours and five sixes – followed his 55 in Sunday’s second T20I against the Proteas and he has now passed fifty in 10 of his 19 T20 innings for England since debuting in the format against South Africa in Cardiff in 2017.
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Sky Sports’ Nasser Hussain said of the left-hander: “He has shown he can play in different ways.
“On difficult pitches he grinds out a score while when you need to up the run rate and you can’t be using up deliveries on dot balls in the powerplay he doesn’t – he just goes out and smashes it.
“He never overhits. It’s classy batting – it is not power, it is just timing. At times he makes it look effortless.
“There’s not one area that is his go-to area. He’ll go leg-side, he likes to open up the off-side and go over extra cover. It is outstanding batting.”
Buttler – with whom Malan shared the highest second-wicket partnership in T20I cricket and the eighth-best stand for any wicket in the format – added of the 33-year-old: “He played a fantastic knock.
“His consistency has been unbelievable since he came back into the side. He was deserving of a hundred but I’m pretty sure he’ll be happy with his 99 not out.”
Buttler also reserved praise for seam bowler Chris Jordan, who became England’s leading T20I wicket-taker when he made South Africa captain Quinton de Kock his 66th scalp in the format to move above previous record holder Stuart Broad (65).
The wicketkeeper-batsman added: “The whole dressing room is delighted for Chris. He is one of the great guys in our side, he has worked so hard on his craft and puts in a lot of effort and time”.
Watch England’s three-match ODI series in South Africa on Sky Sports Cricket. The first game is live from 10.30am on Friday.
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