An inspired innings from Twenty20 international debutant Dawid Malan was underpinned by a tight bowling display as an experimental England side won the third and final match of the series in Cardiff.
Malan provides foundations before strong South Africa death bowling
Jason Roy and Alex Hales were reunited at the top of the order but the former's innings was abruptly ended as he made just six runs, perhaps still haunted by his bizarre dismissal in the second T20 match. Yet that was the moment for Malan to join Hales and let rip into the South Africa bowling attack.
Malan announced himself on the main stage with a six off just his second ball and that shot was to set the precedent for the rest of his innings. The tourists found success with shorter deliveries against the England batting order in Taunton, yet they soon realised there was no margin for error as Malan pulled and hooked any ball an inch off the desired length to the ropes.
Hales did not find life quite as comfortable and he struggled to 36 before being dismissed, though his partnership with Malan had passed the century mark and granted England a platform to build.
Yet Malan only lasted another over before he succumbed to the spin expertise of Imran Tahir. Jos Buttler was joined by Sam Billings and the pair added another 39 as England found themselves 166-4 with 14 balls remaining.
200 did not look beyond the realms of possibility until Dane Paterson had his say. After dismissing Billings for another low total, he sent Liam Livingstone packing the very next delivery.
Liam Plunkett also departed without scoring in the following over to Andile Phehlukwayo before an incredible last over from Paterson. The seamer picked up the wickets of Buttler and David Willey in consecutive balls again as he was hit for just two runs to limit England to 181-8.
Curran and Jordan lead bowling charge
Yet South Africa barely got going in their response as England picked up wickets at regular intervals. Tom Curran impressed at Taunton and was beginning another excellent spell when he took the wicket of Reeza Hendricks without scoring.
Chris Morris was pushed up the order to try and make the most of the power play but was limited to just eight runs when Chris Jordan tempted him into a misguided pull with a shorter delivery.
JJ Smuts and AB De Villiers looked to rebuild as the former survived what looked to be a feint edge behind when he was only on eight. Plunkett was left bamboozled buy the decision but eventually got his man when Smuts began to threaten on a score of 29.
Captain De Villiers was next to depart for 35 and his dismissal to debutant Mason Crane sparked a critical stage in the contest. Jordan returned to pick up two more wickets as South Africa made just nine runs from 16 balls and were left 91-6, just halfway to their target with only 38 balls remaining.
Mangaliso Mosehle and Phehlukwayo did provide some resistance, targeting Willey who went for 34 runs in his first two overs, compared to just six in his opening spell. Yet Curran continued to impress and eventually dismissed Phehlukwayo for 36 after a series of yorkers and dot balls.
That wicket at the end of the 19th over ensured victory for England and Jordan saw out the final six balls with South Africa left 162-7, 19 runs short of their target.