The setting of an ODI series decider at Headingley turned into a no-show as the third match of the series between South Africa and England was abandoned due to rain.
Only 27.4 overs were possible, although it gave sufficient time for wicketkeeper-opener Quinton de Kock to smash unbeaten 92 off 76 balls, by striking 13 fours along the way at a strike-rate of 121.05, helping his side reach 159/2 before rain came in the way.
As the forecasted heavy rain arrived at the venue, it left the officials with no choice but to call off the series decider. South Africa had won the first match convincingly by 62 runs at Durham on Tuesday, before England bounced back with an impressive 118-run win in a rain-shortened game two at Manchester on Friday.
The Leeds abandonment meant that the three-match series ended at 1-1. It was followed by the T20I series starting from Wednesday. After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Janneman Malan fell early on for 11 off left-arm pacer David Willey, before De Kock and Player of the Series Rassie van der Dussen (26) put 75 runs for the second wicket taking the total to 99 for two.
The game was then held up by a heavy shower in the 21st over, and after it resumed, Aiden Markram (24 not out) kept up the scoring tempo alongside De Kock. The pair put on an unbroken 60 for the next wicket, before the skies opened again, prompting the match to be abandoned as de Kock was left eight runs short of his 18th ODI century. The abandonment also meant that Jos Buttler’s wait to win a series as a skipper continues.
“I think there’s a lot to take out of the series. If you look at the first ODI, it was probably our most clinical performance in the past 18 months. I think if we can just replicate the mindset towards how we approach the games, the adaptation of the wickets was the most crucial thing. If we keep building on the things that we’ve done, then we’ll be okay.”
“It was really encouraging in this game to see how Quinny played. It’s great to see a senior play step up in a big game and it’s a pity he didn’t get to continue so we could have seen the outcome of his innings. I think it would have been a spectacular end to what has been a thrilling and wonderful series so far,” said Keshav Maharaj, South Africa’s stand-in captain.
“It was a pity about the rain, I think we were in a pretty good position. Quinny (de Kock) batted brilliantly to put the pressure back on England and we were looking to get to 300-plus. I think 1-1 in the series is probably a fair result. England were good at stages and so were we,” concluded van der Dussen.