JOHANNESBURG: England sealed a one-run win under the Duckworth/Lewis method in a pulsating Twenty20 international at Johannesburg.
They lost Joe Denly to the first ball of the match but Eoin Morgan struck a sublime 85 in 44 balls with five sixes.
It was the highest individual score by an England player in Twenty20 games and 202-6 was their highest T20 total.
Graeme Smith and Loots Bosman hit four sixes each as South Africa raced to 97 inside nine overs, but rain descended at 127-3 and England had done enough.
Despite the unsatisfactory conclusion, even the sternest critic of the 20-over format could surely not have failed to enjoy that spectacle.
In addition to the 18 sixes – nine by each team – there were fluctuations galore as England began the competitive aspect of the tour in style.
Paul Collingwood pulled Albie Morkel for a gargantuan six over square-leg as England reached 56-2 after the six powerplay overs.
Trott departed after a the slightest of hesitations before seeking a quick single, but Morgan and his captain ensured the runs kept flowing, and, despite the field changes, at an even greater rate.
The left-hander’s delightful late cut brought up the 100 from the first ball of the 12th over and Steyn was subjected to more punishment when Morgan pulled him out of the ground, and the paceman’s first three overs ran up 37.
Morkel’s second over went for 21, as Collingwood reached his third Twenty20 international fifty from only 27 balls.
Even after he sliced to the point boundary and Luke Wright and Matt Prior followed in consecutive overs, Morgan took 28 from his final eight balls in the innings, one incredible stroke seeing him turn and flick the ball almost directly over the wicketkeeper’s shoulder for six.
With such a steep asking rate, only two runs came from the first eight balls of the South African reply but Bosman soon found his touch with three fours and two sixes in his next eight.
Sajid Mahmood mixed up some well-disguised slower balls but he too was soon dispatched for 19 in an over as Smith wielded his heavy bat to devastating effect and collected three fours and three sixes – one into the adjacent flats – in another eight incident-filled deliveries.
Bosman’s explosive hitting gave South Africa a hint of victory
South Africa were 67-0 after the powerplay overs and after one over from Wright, Bosman sauntered down to loft Graeme Swann’s opening ball straight down the ground for six.
Bosman, the first South African to score a century in Twenty20 internationals, reached fifty from 26 balls.
But Smith carved a slower ball from Wright to deep point and in the next over Bosman skied the persistent Swann to mid-wicket where the dependable Collingwood took a neatly judged catch under extreme pressure.
The prolific JP Duminy was dismissed cheaply by Mahmood before the rain began to descend and Duckworth/Lewis score sheets were swiftly scrutinised by both sides in case of a curtailed finish.
With seven overs left, 76 were still needed with seven wickets remaining, England were fractionally ahead on paper and the severity of the electrical storm meant that was how it finished.