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South Africa level T20 series with dramatic win

South Africa celebrate

South Africa were much improved as they won a game that went to the final ball

England’s Twenty20 series with South Africa will go to a decider after the Proteas levelled the three-game contest with a three-run win at Taunton.

Chasing 175, England were cruising thanks to a stand of 110 between Jason Roy (67) and Jonny Bairstow (47).

But when Bairstow was caught and Roy controversially given out for obstructing the field, momentum swung.

Needing 12 from the last over, it was the tourists who held their nerve as Liam Dawson missed the final ball.

Debutant Tom Curran had earlier taken 3-33 to restrict the tourists to what looked to be an under-par 174-8.

But this was a much-improved display from AB de Villiers’ side, two days after they fell to a nine-wicket defeat in Southampton.

They now head to Cardiff with a chance of claiming the series.

England snatch defeat from jaws of victory

England will wonder how they managed to lose a game that for so long they seemed certain to win.

On a small ground and with a team of big-hitting batsmen all the way down to David Willey at 10, the home side will have been confident of chasing down South Africa’s 174-8.

They appeared to be doing just that thanks to a rejuvenated Roy, who fortunately survived more than one inside edge but grew as his innings wore on, and the brilliant Bairstow, who carried on from his unbeaten 60 in Southampton.

However, the game turned in the space of 10 balls thanks to the excellent Chris Morris, who built the pressure that led to Bairstow being caught by Farhaan Behardien at mid-on, and Roy losing his wicket in unusual fashion.

Having been sent back by Liam Livingstone, he crossed the wicket as he tried to return to his ground and blocked the direct throw at the stumps. The umpires deferred to video technology and Roy was adjudged to have deliberately obstructed the field.

England were still in decent shape at 133-3 with just under five overs left but crucially the initiative was now with their opponents.

The cheap dismissals of Jos Buttler (10) and captain Eoin Morgan (six) left debutant Livingstone and Dawson to handle the final over, which was superbly bowled by Andile Phehlukwayo.

Livingstone was run out, leaving Dawson needing to score eight from two balls and, while he struck a one-bounce four from the first, he was unable to connect with the second.

More to follow.

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