|Third Twenty20, Newlands, Cape Town|
|South Africa 191-3 (20 overs): Van der Dussen 74* (32), Du Plessis 52* (37), Stokes 2-26|
|England 192-1 (17.4 overs): Malan 99* (47), Buttler 67* (47)|
|England won by nine wickets; won series 3-0|
Dawid Malan made a magnificent 99 not out as England completed a 3-0 series victory over South Africa in Cape Town to go top of the Twenty20 rankings.
Chasing 192 to win, Malan and Jos Buttler added an unbroken 167 to power England home with 14 balls to spare.
Buttler hit a unbeaten 67 off 46 balls and Malan faced only 47 as they hit a combined 14 fours and 10 sixes.
Earlier, Rassie van der Dussen’s unbeaten 74 and Faf du Plessis’ 50 not out helped South Africa post 191-3.
The win took England above Australia at the top of the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings, although Justin Langer’s side could return to the summit during their series against India starting on Friday.
The game was also notable for England analysts on the dressing room balcony using a coded letter and number system to pass tactical advice on to captain Eoin Morgan during the South Africa innings.
The England and Wales Cricket Board said the move had been approved by the ICC and was “intended as a live informational resource that the captain may choose to use or ignore as he wishes”.
A three-match one-day series between England and South Africa starts in Cape Town on Friday.
South Africa will be without pace bowler Kagiso Rabada with the groin strain that ruled him out of the final T20.
Ranked as the number one T20 batsman in the world, Malan often accumulates at the start of his innings, but he moved to 16 from three deliveries courtesy of some woeful South African bowling.
He was strong all around the wicket, but as usual he latched on to width superbly well, hitting 30 of his runs through the covers.
He moved to his half-century off 26 balls – his fastest in international cricket – and he has now scored six half-centuries in his past 12 T20 games for England.
The 33-year-old should have been run out on 36, when England were 75-1, but South Africa captain and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock fumbled and passed up the opportunity.
The only downside for Malan was a miscalculation at the end, with him thinking England needed more to win than they did, resulting in him being stranded one short of a second T20 international hundred.
Buttler at the other end was superb.
He started in subdued fashion, scoring 22 off as many balls, but in the 11th over the wicketkeeper hit the inexperienced Lutho Sipamla for 21, including two massive sixes over mid-wicket.
The next over, bowled by spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, went for 19 as England broke the back of the chase.
The temperament the pair showed, alongside the well-judged pace of the chase, will delight captain Eoin Morgan as England build to next October’s T20 World Cup in India.
When Van der Dussen joined Du Plessis at the crease South Africa were toiling at 64-3 in the 10th over and being pegged back by an excellent bowling performance.
That trend continued for a few overs, with the odd boundary helping the hosts towards a competitive total, before a momentum swing in the 16th over.
Tom Curran’s over went for 16, before Jofra Archer (0-44) went for 22 – his most off a single over in domestic or international T20 cricket – in the 17th over, including two massive Van der Dussen sixes over the legside.
From there South Africa were in the ascendency and took 17 off Sam Curran’s penultimate over, and 20 off Chris Jordan’s final over.
Van der Dussen hit positively, down the ground and over midwicket, hitting five sixes and five fours in his highest T20 international score, and he was ably supported by former captain Du Plessis, who picked up the pace through his innings, and played well through cover and down the ground.
The England bowlers were guilty of missing their length too often – allowing the pair to free their arms and find the boundary, almost at will.
England’s Dawid Malan, who made 99 not out: “The last two innings I haven’t hit it as well as I had liked, so to walk out and hit them like I did early on…
“I thought 190 might be a bit too many. We ended up getting a bit of momentum and the wicket played so well – it skidded on nicely.”
On ending on 99 not out: “I knew there were five runs left, but I didn’t know how that would go down if I turned down the single.”
England captain Eoin Morgan: “It’s extremely pleasing. Dawid and Jos were absolutely outstanding. To win a game in such commanding fashion builds a lot of confidence in the changing room.
“To be able to chase a total like that, given we didn’t get off to an absolute flier, it’s very encouraging signs.”
South Africa captain Quinton de Kock: “It’s disappointing, but those guys played unbelievable innings. They blew us away.
“We’re not playing as badly as it looks. We’re still getting together. It was always going to be difficult. Going forward the boys are still confident.”