England produced a complete performance to trounce South Africa by nine wickets in the first international T20 at The Rose Bowl in Southampton on Wednesday evening.
Such was the dominance of England, there were still 33 balls remaining as England ended on 143 for one in reply to South Africa’s 141 for three after AB de Villiers had won the toss and elected to bat first.
“It was not a good result and I felt that we were 20 to 30 runs short with the bat,” said De Villiers after the match.
England’s pursuit of victory was made easy as Jason Roy (28) gave the hosts a fast start, smashing three fours and two sixes off 14 balls in an opening stand of 45 from 4.1 overs.
Wayne Parnell (2-0-26-0) was punished upfront by the right-handed Roy, who took 23 runs off his second over.
“We bowled well in the first two overs and then let them get away but I do not think I would have done anything differently. It would have helped getting a couple of wickets in the power play,” stated the Proteas captain.
England captain Eoin Morgan added that “if Roy gets us off to a start like that in every game then it works and he can win most games for us.”
The introduction of Andile Phehlukwayo (1.3-0-11-1) brought about some respite as he had Roy trapped in front, trying to play a reverse-sweep shot.
But that was to be the last success that the Proteas would experience as Alex Hales (47 not out) and Jonny Bairstow (60 not out) smashed an unbeaten 98-run stand for the second wicket to take the hosts to victory.
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“It’s all about being clinical. We don’t wont to let anyone else do the job,” said man-of-the-match Bairstow.
South Africa’s day was epitomised by their fielding as Phehlukwayo was guilty of two fumbles on the fence that allowed boundaries to Bairstow and Farhaan Behardien dropped Hales late in the innings off Imran Tahir (3-0-37-0).
Hales missed out on his half century after facing 38 balls and striking three fours and two sixes, but Bairstow took the chase by the scruff of the neck and smashed six boundaries and two maximums from just 35 balls with the right-hander needing just 29 balls to bring up his fifty.
Earlier, South Africa had been rocked back with the loss of three early wickets as David Willey (4-0-34-1) and Mark Wood (4-0-36-2) reduced the Proteas to 32 for three inside five overs.
“We were excellent. We put them on the back foot with those early wickets and then the spinners really tied them up,” said Morgan.
Willey struck with the first ball of the match, having Jon-Jon Smuts playing onto his stumps without scoring. Wood then struck with his first delivery, having Reeza Hendricks (3) pulling a short ball straight to Willey fielding at mid-wicket.
Wood, who changed ends after his first over, then struck with the first ball of his second over when he had David Miller (9) edging through to Jos Buttler behind the stumps.
But De Villiers (65 not out) and Behardien (64 not out) put together an unbeaten third-wicket stand worth 110 to give the Proteas something to bowl at.
The spin duo of Liam Dawson (4-0-17-0) and new cap Mason Crane (4-0-24-0) kept things tied up in the middle overs, restricting De Villiers and Behardien with good line and length bowling along with their variation.
Their stand was overly cautious to begin with after the early losses, bringing up their 50-run stand off 59 balls but they started to find their confidence – a little too late – and registered their century stand off 90 balls.
With both De Villiers and Behardien striking four boundaries and two sixes, off 58 and 52 balls respectively, the urgency in scoring quick runs was lacking in the South African innings.
“We are South African and we will fight. We will come back in the next game at Taunton. We must just look at our skill levels and execute them better,” ended De Villiers.
ENGLAND: JJ Roy, AD Hales, JM Bairstow, EJG Morgan (capt), JC Buttler (wk), SW Billings, LA Dawson, MS Crane, DJ Willey, CJ Jordan, MA Wood
SOUTH AFRICA: JT Smuts, RR Hendricks, AB de Villiers (capt), DA Miller, F Behardien, M Mosehle (wk), WD Parnell, D Pretorius, AL Phehlukwayo, T Shamsi, Imran Tahir