England has not had a very good year when it comes to cricket. The team has a reputation for not fulfilling its potential in spite of having some top notch players on its side, but the recently concluded series against South Africa proves to be a momentous occasion considering the fact that they just trounced South Africa, a team that is not to be trifled with, 3-1. The English team was able to take advantage of its home turf and comfortably won, gaining a series lead early on and then going to claim a pronounced victory.
It is important to note the role of Moeen Ali in this victory. The off spinner has earned a lot of praise, and he managed to justify this praise by showing off his skills against a side that has traditionally fared quite well when it came to batting against spin. His five wickets were taken for just sixty nine runs, thus making his bowling spell highly economical as well as deadly for South Africa’s batting line up. It is important to note that Ali’s wickets were highly valuable as well. His very first wicket was that of Hashim Amla, a stalwart of the South African side who is known to be a match winner. Apart from Amla, Ali was able to dismiss both Quinton de Kock as well as Theunis van Bruyn, both of whom could have taken the match away from England if they had been allowed to get set at the crease.
Ali’s bowling in this series has been absolutely phenomenal. He has taken twenty five wickets in the series, and perhaps the most stunning performance from his impressive list of achievements in this series is the hat trick that he took to win the game for England a couple of matches ago. Ali is not the only bowler that impressed either. James Anderson has been enjoying fine form, playing in such a way that he was able to take three wickets for just sixteen runs. That is certainly going to do his average some good! While Ali was responsible for knocking down Amla, Anderson took care of Amla’s partner in crime Faf du Plessis. Du Plessis was well set on sixty nine when Amla had gotten out, the pair had put on an enormous partnership together, but the combination of Ali and Anderson proved to be too much for even these batting juggernauts to handle.
It is important to note that it was always highly unlikely that South Africa would’ve been able to make the 380 needed to win the match. The highest run chase ever successfully completed in Manchester, where this final match was held, 294, almost three figures below what South Africa had to make. Still, the Proteas are known for firing shot after shot in pursuit of victory, so the monumental bowling performance that England put on proved that the team still deserves respect.