Jonny Bairstow drove England to a five-wicket victory over South Africa on Friday in the first Twenty20 international at Newlands in Cape Town. Bairstow didn’t throw 86 out of 48 balls while England chased a 180 victory goal with four balls left. England struggled 34 for three before Bairstow and Ben Stokes (37) changed the momentum of the match with a fourth wicket stand of 85. Yet South Africa still had a realistic chance of winning as England needed the last four overs. 51 runs.
But the fast left arm bowler, Beuran Hendricks, gave up 28 runs in the 17th over, including three widths that cost eight runs, while Bairstow and England captain Eoin Morgan went on the offensive.
Morgan said the win was “extremely pleasant, as we were quite average apart from two or three players.”
Morgan said England’s bowlers “missed areas,” although left-poorer Sam Curran claimed a career-best three for 28 in South Africa’s innings of 179 for six.
And he was disappointed with the battle start, although he praised Bairstow and Stokes.
“Jonny and Ben are rebuilding the way they take the win,” he told SuperSport.
Bairstow hit number four instead of opening, as he often does in white-ball cricket.
“It’s something you should enjoy,” he said. “You learn to work your innings in different ways.”
Bairstow hit nine fours and four sixes, ending the game in style with his fourth six, which sailed into a building on the north side of the ground.
Former captain Faf du Plessis scored for South Africa with 58 of 40 balls after his side was sent in on a cool evening.
South Africa’s first international match since March was played without spectators due to Covid’s restrictions.
South African captain Quinton de Kock refused to blame the Hendricks.
“I don’t think it was just over. It was the way Jonny and Ben played. We didn’t play badly. They played really well.”
The teams will meet again on Sunday in a daytime match in Paarl.
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