CSA Invitational XI 193 for 6 (Snyman 67, Sekhukhune 54, Parkinson 3-9) beat England 346 for 7 (Bairstow 100, Root 91, Denly 85, Tait 4-56) by four wickets
England took plenty from their final warm-up game before the ODI series despite being beaten after setting up a contrived run chase in Paarl. Having scored 346 for 7 in their 50 overs, led by an 83-ball hundred from Jonny Bairstow, they then opted to reset the encounter after 20 overs of the second innings – asking the CSA Invitational XI to score 85 from 10.
Legspinner Matt Parkinson claimed three wickets in an over, leaving CSA XI effectively 15 for 3, but the returning Jacques Snyman, who had earlier been dismissed for 29 after opening the batting, took Saqib Mahmood for three fours and three sixes over the course of two overs from the Lancashire quick to turn the chase.
The change to a “high pressure” training scenario came after England’s top order had produced a more convincing performance, following their efforts in Friday’s tour game against the same opposition. Bairstow, Joe Root and Joe Denly all contributed significant scores, to set a stiff target. CSA XI then reached 103 for 3 – Denly taking two wickets with his legspin – before England were given the chance to simulate defending at the death.
England were captained by Root, with Eoin Morgan taking a watching brief, and they made good use of the bowling options in their squad – only Adil Rashid not being called upon.
Having been propped up by Jason Roy’s 104 in the first warm-up, England batted first once again and this time made a more familiar racket. Dawid Malan fell second ball after coming into the side for Roy, but Bairstow cracked 11 fours and fours sixes on his way to three figures. He put on 157 with Root, before retiring to given other batsmen time in the middle.
Root fulfilled a less obtrusive role, ticking along at just over a run a ball until he became the second of four wickets for left-armer Stephan Tait. The most discomfort he experienced came via a blow to his wrist after Denly hit the ball at him while standing at the non-striker’s end; Root was on 58 at the time, but recovered quickly enough to strike his next ball for six.
Tom Banton made 23 in a 50-run stand with Denly, who reached a steady fifty and then kicked on by thrashing 29 off his last nine balls. England lost 4 for 14 in 3.3 overs as the lower order hit out, which ultimately left them just shy of the 350 mark.
CSA XI’s reply began with a half-century stand between the openers before Tom Curran bowled Snyman, and then Denly, who was introduced to the attack ahead of Parkinson, claimed two wickets in as many overs.
At the 20-over mark, CSA XI set about trying to chase down 85, with opener Kabelo Sekhukhune well set alongside the veteran Qaasim Adams. Parkinson’s second over saw Adams bowled from the first ball, before Sekhukhune and Garnett Tarr were caught on the leg-side boundary.
CSA XI had made only 27 from five overs when Mahmood came back into the attack, only to see Snyman immediately strike him for six and four. Tom Curran’s next over also went for 14, and Mahmood was then hit for a sequence of 6-6-4-4-2 by Snyman to bring the target down to eight from 12 balls. Although Snyman was dismissed by Chris Jordan to take the game into the ‘final’ over, Andile Mokgakane sealed the win with two deliveries to spare.