Rilee Rossouw’s unbeaten 96 off 55 balls set up the Proteas’ 58-run win against England in the second T20I in Cardiff on Thursday.
Rossouw’s career-best T20I score was the cornerstone of a total of 207-3, with Reeza Hendricks making 53 off 32 balls – the opener’s second fifty in as many days.
Left-arm wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi then took 3-27, all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo 3-39 and paceman Lungi Ngidi 2-11 as England were dismissed for 149 in the 17th over.
South Africa also held several fine catches in a vastly-improved fielding effort following a shoddy display during a 41-run defeat in Wednesday’s series opener in Bristol.
England captain and opener Jos Buttler hit 16 runs in three balls from Phehlukwayo – two sixes followed by a four. But Phehlukwayo had his revenge the very next ball, with Buttler (29) caught off a soaring top-edge by Hendricks.
England were 77-3 in the ninth over when struggling opener Jason Roy holed out for 20 off Shamsi, with Hendricks making good ground to hold a low catch at mid-off.
The Proteas then reduced England to 88-4.
Moeen Ali, who in Bristol had hit England’s quickest T20I fifty off just 16 balls, fell for 28 when he drove Shamsi only for Maharaj, running round from wide long-off, to cling onto the ball low down.
Shamsi, whose three wicketless overs on Wednesday cost an expensive 49 runs, struck again when Sam Curran gave Maharaj a much simpler catch as he tried to clear the short, straight boundary.
Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada dismissed Jonny Bairstow (30) when the in-form batsman uppercut at a slower-ball bouncer, with Ngidi taking an excellent catch running back at backward point.
And when the big-hitting Liam Livingstone, trying to target Phehlukwayo, was caught behind for 18, the hosts were 141-7 in the 16th over before Ngidi cleaned up the tail.
Both sides were unchanged following a match England won after posting 234-6 – their second-highest T20I total. Nevertheless, Buttler opted to field first after winning Thursday’s toss.
The Proteas scored 32 runs off the opening three overs from left-arm quicks Reece Topley and Curran.
But off-spinner Moeen made the breakthrough when De Kock (15) mistimed a drive to mid-on.
New batsman Rossouw (32) hit the last two balls of the powerplay for 10 runs, flicking Richard Gleeson for six and driving him through extra-cover for four.
Hendricks completed his second fifty of the series, off just 29 balls, but was out soon afterwards when Bairstow took a well-judged catch, running back towards the long-leg boundary but stopping his momentum to avoid touching the rope.
England thought Rossouw was caught behind down the legside by Buttler off Chris Jordan for 37 but the TV umpire ruled the ball had bounced into the wicketkeeper’s gloves.
Left-hander Rossouw, a day after ending a six-year international exile having been ineligible for South Africa while taking up a Kolpak contract in English county cricket, continued to blaze away.
But death bowler Jordan conceded a mere four runs off the last over to leave Rossouw just shy of three figures.
Rossouw faced 55 balls including 10 fours and five sixes.
Welcome back @Rileerr!!!
— SA Cricket magazine (@SACricketmag) July 28, 2022
The series finishes in Southampton on Sunday.
© Agence France-Presse