Cardiff, Wales (AP) — Dawid Malan smashed 78 runs off 44 balls on debut to help England secure a 19-run victory against South Africa in their third Twenty20 match on Sunday and win the three-match series 2-1.
With captain Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow rested, Middlesex left-hander Malan took full advantage of his opportunity, getting off the mark with a six after England lost the toss and were put into bat. England reached 181-8 in 20 overs before restricting South Africa to 162-7.
Malan hit two sixes and 12 fours as he delivered the highest score by an England player on T20 debut.
“I don’t think playing one game, you can’t think you’ve made it,” Malan told Sky Sports 2. “You’ve got to constantly put scores on the board.
“Hopefully they (England) rest a lot of other players for the next game again and I can get another shout.”
Eyebrows were raised as England revealed the omission of Morgan — with Jos Buttler taking the captaincy — but Malan led a performance that ensured the regulars were quickly forgotten.
Having launched Chris Morris over mid-wicket for six facing just his second ball, Malan took on the South African bowling attack, scoring at a strike rate of 177.
Alex Hales supported Malan with 36 from 28 during the pair’s 105-run stand for the second wicket and England appeared on course for a huge total. Malan was caught in the deep off the bowling of Imran Tahir with the score at 127-3 midway through the 14th over.
Despite Buttler adding a useful 31 from 22, it was South African paceman Dane Paterson who dominated the finale of England’s innings, taking four wickets for just eight runs in his last two overs.
However, the Proteas batsmen were unable to build on the momentum as the new members of England’s bowling attack joined Malan in making their case for a regular place.
Tom Curran struck in the second over to remove Reeza Hendricks for a duck, before legspinner Mason Crane claimed a first international wicket as he removed AB de Villiers for 35 to leave South Africa reeling at 82-4 after 11 overs.
Two more quick wickets fell and while a stand of 54 between Mangaliso Mosehle (36) and Andile Phehlukwayo (27 not out) restored some respectability, England’s total was never in danger.
Buttler was able to call on the experience of Chris Jordan and Liam Plunkett, as the pace bowling duo recorded figures of 3-31 and 1-22, respectively.
“I think if you look around all the best teams in the world, there’s always very good players missing out with injuries or resting guys,” Buttler said.
“Dawid Malan just did what he’s being doing outside of the team. There is pressure on you when you come in and you feel like you need to perform to show your case, so that’s a fantastic show of character by those guys.”