Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis and Reeza Hendricks played commanding innings to power the Proteas to 192-6 in the first T20I at Newlands in Cape Town, writes SIMON LEWIS.
A brilliant second-wicket partnership of 131 off 73 balls between Hendricks and Du Plessis set the Proteas up for a competitive total as they looked to end Pakistan’s run of nine T20I wins on the bounce. The pair batted superbly together, hitting powerful boundaries and running well between the wickets as Pakistan struggled to keep a lid on their free scoring.
Du Plessis holed out after scoring a breathtaking 78 off 45 balls (6×4, 4×6), one ball after Pakistan called for a caught-behind appeal which turned out to be somewhat of a wasted review.
Fresh from his brilliant form in the ODI series, Rassie van der Dussen fell for a two-ball duck as the Proteas middle order went on the all-out attack for the last five overs. Chris Morris sacrificed his wicket going for a big one, and David Miller could only muster 10 off 12 balls as the Pakistan bowlers succeeded in halting the Proteas’ run surge in the final overs.
A stunning diving catch by Shadab Khan saw Hendricks return to the pavilion for 74 off just 40 balls with eight fours and two sixes. However, the manner in which the Pakistan bowlers and fielder reined in the Proteas bears testament to their status as No 1 in T20I cricket.
The Proteas ended on 192-6 off their 20 overs, which is a defendable total, especially bowling second under lights at Newlands, but one fancies that Pakistan will be confident heading into the run chase.
Usman Shinwari (3-31, econ 7.75) and Imad Wasim (1-23, econ 5.75) were the pick of the Pakistan bowlers.
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