Sometimes it only takes a slice of luck for a team’s fortunes to change.
It was exactly the case with the Proteas after they won a thrilling second T20 against England by three runs in Tauton on Friday evening.
Chasing 175, the home side was cruising at 133/2 at the start of the 16th over with Jason Roy muscling his way to an at times brutal 67.
Then he decided there was a quick single on and called partner and debutant Liam Livingstone.
But Livingstone wasn’t sure and sent Roy back, who changed his running line and stopped the throw from reaching the stumps.
The Proteas appealed, the incident was referred to the third umpire and Roy was given out obstructing the field.
In truth, it actually seemed unlikely that the throw would’ve hit the stumps – and bowler Chris Morris wasn’t anywhere near collecting – but the rule is pretty clear.
If you change your running line markedly, you’re in trouble.
It was exactly the break the Proteas needed, especially after Morris gamely got them back in the picture with an excellent spell of 2/18.
Andile Phehlukwayo (1/34) then bowled a magnificent yorker to castle the dangerous Jos Buttler before Dane Paterson’s (1/32) variations tightened the noose and also captured captain Eoin Morgan’s wicket.
England’s jittery middle-order certainly helped the Proteas but an inexperienced attack still deserved credit for adapting well.
Earlier, South Africa relied on sporadic contributions to get them to 174/8.
Opener Jon-Jon Smuts mixed periods of inactivity with some beefy boundaries as he made 45 off 35, a knock that included 3 sixes.
Yet it was skipper AB de Villiers that provided crucial momentum.
He gave a glimpse of his outrageous talent with some delightfully innovative shots in his 46 off 20 and it was disappointing when he skied a slower ball.
The Proteas seemed to lose some steam after that as debutant Tom Curran (3/33) impressed with his repertoire of deliveries.
But Farhaan Behardien’s 32 off 21, in the end, proved decisive.