Imran Tahir equaled his best bowling figures in a T20I by claiming 4-21 to help restrict England to 134-8 in the first T20I at Newlands on Friday.
England got off to a flying start by scoring at 1o runs an overs for the first five overs. South Africa fought back and got rid of Alex Hales (27), Joe Root (8) and Ben Stokes (11) in quick succession to slow the scoring.
When Tahir took his third wicket to get rid of Eoin Morgan for 10 England were struggling on 81-5.
South Africa’s fielding was not without incident. JP Duminy dropped Alex Hales on 24 in Chris Morris’s first over. But he wasn’t as generous the second time, holding onto the catch offered off Tahir’s bowling despite being tackled by Kagiso Rabada.
Rabada ran back trying to get to the ball but never looked down to see Duminy in a much better position to take it. They collided and Rabada looked like he came off worse than Duminy, but both players got up and carried with the game.
England needed someone to play a big innings, but Root was caught at point trying to drive David Wiese’s first delivery, while Stokes was stumped by AB de Villiers off Tahir.
When Du Plessis took a good catch diving to his left to get rid of Moeen Ali for a golden duck, Tahir couldn’t contain his excitement in hugging his captain. It left him on a hat-trick ball, and he almost got it, but the ball missed Chris Jordan’s bat and wickets.
Joss Butler stuck around for an unbeaten 32 off 30 balls, but he couldn’t score quickly enough to push England to a bigger total.
David Wiese was also excellent with ball in hand, conceding only 19 runs in his four overs and the wicket of Root.