The South African batsmen made the most of the tricky conditions in East London to post 177-8 in their 20 overs in the first T20I against England on Wednesday, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
England skipper Eoin Morgan won another toss and decided to use the ball to his bowlers’ advantage first under windy conditions at Buffalo Park.
Dale Steyn made his much-awaited return to the T20 team in his first game for the Proteas in almost 12 months, while Dwaine Pretorius was also drafted back into the side.
England saw the welcome return of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Mark Wood, who were given a rest in the recent ODI series.
Captain Quinton de Kock made a blistering start, racing to 31 runs off 14 deliveries before he tried to send Moeen Ali over the fence, but his mistimed shot was caught by Joe Denly.
Temba Bavuma, who opened the batting with De Kock, was joined by Rassie van der Dussen and together the pair continued to take the attack to the English bowlers, bringing up a 50-run partnership as South Africa surpassed the 100-run mark in the 10th over.
Stokes then made the breakthrough when he beat Van der Dussen for pace, playing a pull shot into Jonny Bairstow’s hands for 31.
Bavuma was sent packing for 43 in the next over when he tried to sweep Rashid, only to be caught by Ali at square-leg.
David Miller failed to get his innings going and was dismissed by Tom Curran as England began to crawl back into the game and slow the run rate down.
Jon-Jon Smuts also struggled to get going and completely mistimed a shot off Wood’s bowling, caught by Stokes for 20 in the penultimate over.
And Chris Jordan did extremely well to restrict the Proteas in the final over, clean-bowling Dwaine Pretorius and Beuran Hendricks in successive deliveries.
The further run-out of Andile Phehlukwayo with the final delivery capped a brilliant finish for the visitors.
England need 178 runs for victory in their 20 overs.
South Africa – Quinton de Kock (c & wk), Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, JJ Smuts, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Beuran Hendricks, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Lungi Ngidi.
England – Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (wk), Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Joe Denly, Moeen Ali, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Chris Jordan, Mark Wood.
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