South Africa’s new-look bowling attack made a good first impression as they propelled the Proteas to a 52-run victory over Bangladesh in the first T20 in Mirpur on Sunday.
Having been set a target of 149 for victory, Bangladesh fell well short of that as they succumbed to 96 all out.
A lot had been made about Bangladesh’s recent performances against India and Pakistan and they were brimming with confidence when Faf du Plessis opted to bat first.
AB de Villiers opened the batting with Quinton de Kock, but the move came to nothing as De Villiers departed at the end of the first over. South Africa’s innings got off to a slow start on a slow wicket which favoured the spinners.
Bangladesh used three spinners inside the first six overs as they put the visitors under pressure. The first boundary of the innings came in the third over thanks to Du Plessis, who scored a superb 79 not out from 61 balls.
He batted with patience and skill despite being dropped in the sixth over with his score on 18. It was a costly mistake by Bangladesh in the context of the game as Du Plessis first combined with JP Duminy (18) and later Rilee Rossouw (31 not out) to help South Africa reach a decent total of 148-4.
A match-winning partnership of 53 off 36 between Du Plessis and Rossouw gave South Africa the strong finish they needed after a slow start and gave South Africa a score just seven runs short of the average first innings score at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, which is 155.
At 90-4 one started to ponder the omission of Eddie Leie in the South African starting XI, but in the end it didn’t matter.
Coming out to bat, Bangladesh got off to a similarly bad start as they crumbled to 57-5, thanks in large part to South Africa’s seamers who Du Plessis decided should open the bowling rather than the spinners.
New kid on the block Kagiso Rabada bowled well as he took 2-28 in three overs, while David Wiese also grabbed his opportunity with both hands as he claimed 2-12 in three overs.
Then Aaron Phangiso (1-21) and JP Duminy entered the attack and especially Duminy was impressive as he kept it tight, only conceding 11 runs in his four overs while taking two big wickets as well.
Wayne Parnell and Kyle Abbott also chipped in with a wicket apiece.
The second T20 international will be played on Tuesday.