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Liam Livingstone aims to be a hit and help England to winning white-ball finale

Liam Livingstone is hopeful of producing a match-winning score in England’s T20 decider against South Africa (David Davies/PA)
Liam Livingstone is hopeful of producing a match-winning score in England’s T20 decider against South Africa (David Davies/PA)

Liam Livingstone wants to help England finish their white-ball summer on a high by ending his run of cameos with a “match-winning score” at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday.

England face South Africa in a T20 decider after the tourists won Thursday’s second meeting in Cardiff to level the series and keep new captain Jos Buttler waiting for a maiden series victory since he replaced Eoin Morgan last month.

It has not only been an up-and-down summer on home soil for the team but also Livingstone with a top score of 42 not out across 10 innings in both white-ball formats during the last month.

A destructive 38 off 26 balls at Emirates Old Trafford last week helped England to victory in a 50-over clash with South Africa but the all-rounder is eager to ditch his cameo tag.

“I think that has been the word I have seen everywhere, to be honest,” Livingstone admitted.

“This summer has been a little bit up and down. I probably haven’t done as well as I would have liked but yeah, it is all about making sure when the opportunity comes for me to put in a match-winning score and win a game for England, that I am there and ready to do it.

“I feel like I have been able to affect certain games but I just haven’t got that big score to go on and win a game for the team.

“Hopefully that is tomorrow. If not, it is not as though I feel out of nick. I feel like I am playing really well but I just need a couple of things to go my way and hopefully I can get a big score in to help the team towards winning.”

Victory in Hampshire would boost an England side in a transitional period following Eoin Morgan’s retirement from international duty in June.

Teething problems were expected after Matthew Mott was made white-ball head coach earlier this summer but an already changed management structure now has a new captain too.

Buttler saw India win both T20 and ODI series by a 2-1 score before rain ruined any hopes of beating South Africa in the 50-over decider at Headingley to remain without a series win since officially beginning his tenure.

But Livingstone insisted: “It is not something we have thought about or talked about. Jos is an incredible leader and has a very special talent that whatever he does people want to follow.

“We have a World Cup in three months time and ultimately everyone is working towards that and taking steps towards that.

“We want these games leading into a World Cup. It is kind of a knockout game and decider. Everyone is looking forward to it and hopefully we can finish this summer on a high.”

Livingstone will turn his focus to franchise cricket after Sunday with the second season of domestic competition The Hundred set to get under way next week.

Two more franchise leagues will be added to the cricketing calendar in January with the United Arab Emirates and South Africa running T20 tournaments.

With England due to play white-ball cricket away to the Proteas at the start of 2023, the likes of Livingstone and captain Buttler have been tipped to feature in the six-team franchise tournament in South Africa.

“I will be playing in one of them,” the Cumbrian said with a smile.

“We will have to play international cricket in South Africa in January and some of the lads will get experience of playing in South Africa for a few (franchise) games before that, which I think is perfect for us as a team.

“We are getting to travel around the world and compete in different franchise leagues and in conditions where we are going to places where we have to go to and win games for England.”

While Livingstone insisted any English player debating retiring from national duty to focus on franchise leagues would be “very silly” and also reiterated his dream to eventually play Test cricket, it seems almost impossible for all-format players to feature in South Africa’s new T20 tournament.

It will take place immediately after England’s Test series in Pakistan, which will occur following the World Cup in Australia.

That will not stop South Africa’s in-form opener Reeza Hendricks trying to convince some of England’s stars to sign up for the new franchise league come the conclusion of Sunday’s T20 decider.

Hendricks added: “We will definitely have a mingle, a chat and see who is coming over and try to convince them to come over!”