Eoin Morgan and AB de Villiers led the praise for Worthing’s favourite cricketing son Mason Crane after the young spinner made a fine England debut.
The former Lancing College and Worthing Cricket Club bowler produced a tidy spell of nought for 24 in four overs as England hammered South Africa in the first of a three-game t20 series at the Ageas Bowl in Hampshire.
Crane and his Hampshire team-mate Liam Dawson made it tough for de Villiers and Farhaan Behardie to get the run-rate going after early wickets was lost. Their eight overs were vital in restricting the tourists to 142 for three.
England reached the target with only one wicket down and with five-and-a-half overs to go.
Morgan said: “Mason handled himself really well. It is a very important part of what we do, how these lads handle things.
“We know Mason has the potential and skill – he’s proved that at county level. But to be able to reignite his good form in international cricket and have the mindset to stay in the moment, and do exactly what he’s been doing, is very important.
“It worked for him and they are very good signs. His skills are good. We know that, though. It is delivering them. AB is one of the best players of his generation and to do it against him is quite a task, especially when he is trying to get after you. At no stage did AB manage to get hold of him.
“The challenge now for Mason is, if he continues to play, how people counter him and, when they do, how he comes back at it. But they are really good signs for a young guy.”
For his part, de Villiers was happy to admit South Africa were second best – and he praised the part played by Crane and Dawson in thwarting them.
He said: “We were outplayed and England bowled pretty well. I felt the best time to bat was in the first six overs and I thought we could take the game to England. Instead, we started slowly and lost a few wickets.
“It was really slow after that and we had to try to rebuild. I felt we got it back a bit but found it difficult to get the ball away. We were about 25 runs short.”
De Villiers accepted the failure to find momentum was down to Crane and Dawson and said: “Mason Crane handled himself well on the big occasion.
“It is great to see youngsters like him coming through. He gave us a few to hit – as leg-spinners do – but we didn’t cash in. As much as you try, it doesn’t always come out of the middle of the bat.”
Crane was not selected for Friday’s second game of the series, at Taunton, as England gave other young players their debuts.
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