All-rounder Chris Morris has been drafted into South Africa‘s 15-man World Cup squad following a hand injury to fast bowler Anrich Nortje.
Nortje is facing six to eight weeks on the sidelines, ruling him out of the global 50-over competition in England and Wales this summer, after fracturing his thumb during net practice.
Morris earned the last of his 34 one-day international caps in February last year but his ability to star with both ball and bat has seen him called up as Nortje’s replacement.
Cricket South Africa national selection panel convener Linda Zondi said: “Chris has always been in our plans and is our next best option with the ball.
“He has the pace and death-bowling skills which will be vital in the UK, and also gives us that depth as a deadly finisher with the bat.
“Admittedly, the injuries ahead of the tournament have been frustrating but I continue to have confidence that the players we have selected will make the country proud.”
With all the focus on the World Cup that begins at the end of the month, even the T20 game was seen as part of the build-up to the showpiece event.
It was England who prevailed, chasing 174, with captain Eoin Morgan hitting an unbeaten fifty and getting into some much-needed form heading into World Cup season.
Ahead of the first of five ODIs in London on Wednesday, we take a look at the main talking points.
Another chance for Amir
Left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir didn’t get to feature in the T20 but the ODIs have clearly been earmarked as his audition for an entry in the World Cup squad he has been omitted from.
Amir deservedly lost his spot in the ODI team after failing to pick up wickets for the best part of the year. But given his experience and performances in England, the team management have decided to provide him another opportunity.
His exploits in the 2017 Champions Trophy final against India can’t easily be forgotten. However, it is also true that since that final where he picked up three wickets, Amir has taken only five scalps in 14 ODIs and has gone wicketless in nine.
Archer v Hasnain
The one-off T20 saw out-and-out quicks Jofra Archer and Mohammad Hasnain test the limits of the speed gun. While Archer was the most successful pacer on the day with two wickets, Hasnain impressed with some sizzling yorkers.
The ODIs, however, will be the bigger test as sustaining pace across 10 overs and surviving a death overs assault will show which of the two can be burdened with bigger responsibilities next month.
Archer didn’t make it to the original World Cup squad but barring a monumental failure in the ODIs, is seen as a guaranteed late addition.
Big guns return
For England, the real heavy hitters are back in the mix, which can only be bad news for Pakistan. Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, all-rounder Ben Stokes along with top-order heavyweight Jason Roy form a deadly batting line-up. And we are not even talking about Joe Root or captain Morgan.
But while England’s batting line-up seems to run right down to the 12th man, the same can’t be said about its pace attack which seems a bit light with only Archer adding some edge. The form of spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali will also be crucial to the team’s plans as the batting line-up can’t be expected to score 400 every match.
England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Liam Plunkett, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Asif Ali, Sarfaraz Ahmed (c and wk), Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain
Solid batting from skipper Eoin Morgan (57 not out), Joe Root (47) and James Vince (36) saw England chase down Pakistan’s 173-6 with four balls to spare.
After their 50-over victory over Ireland on Friday, this has proved to be a successful start to England’s summer, one which features the ODI World Cup and the Ashes.
England have never lost a T20 international at Cardiff and that record was protected with a composed all-round display on a greenish Sophia Gardens strip.
Jofra Archer also gave another tantalising glimpse of his rich talents by taking 2-29 in the Pakistan innings.
In responding to Pakistan’s total, Ben Duckett fell early on his return to England colours for the first time since November 2016.
Duckett departed for nine when he drove Shaheen Afridi straight to Imad Wasim at mid-off, but Vince and Root played some sumptuous strokes to keep up with the rate.
Vince had made 36 from 27 balls when umpire Alex Wharf felt he had feathered a delivery from Wasim down the leg side.
The decision was upheld on review, with replays indicating the faintest of edges into the gloves of wicket-keeper Sarfaraz Ahmed.
Morgan took 14 runs off three successive balls from Faheem Ashraf as England pressed home their advantage.
And, even when Root fell to another Sarfaraz catch, there was no sign of England letting victory slip.
Pakistan had earlier got out of a batting hole – after paceman David Willey nearly fell down one.
Babar Azam (65) and Haris Sohail (50) rescued Pakistan from a perilous 31-2 with some clean striking, but the innings will be remembered for an extraordinary incident at the start of the third over.
Willey was just about to reach the delivery crease when the ground gave way beneath him and a huge hole appeared in the Sophia Gardens turf.
Ground staff were able to repair the damage, apparently the result of a pitch box popping up, but Willey was fortunate to escape serious injury.
Ben Foakes failed to run out Fakhar Zaman early on after the Pakistan opener had been involved in a mix-up between the wickets with Babar, but England then enjoyed some success.
Fakhar failed to make the most of his lifeline as he drove Tom Curran into the covers and Morgan took an excellent catch above his head.
England were well on top as Archer impressed on his T20 international debut. The Barbardos-born paceman produced some wonderful variation, mixing slower balls with real snorters, and removed Imam-ul-Haq for seven.
Provided by Press Association Sport