South Africa held their nerves against England in the first Twenty-20 International (T20I) to register a one-run victory at the Buffalo Park in Eastern Cape on Wednesday.
Chasing 178, England were cruising in the first half of their innings before experiencing a middle-order collapse. After Jos Buttler was removed by Dale Steyn, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow added more than 70 runs for the second wicket.
Bairstow walked towards the pavilion in the ninth over with the scoreboard reading 91 for England. Skipper Eoin Morgan looked in fine touch as he mixed nicely with Roy to keep England’s scoring rate well in check.
However, with Bairstow getting out for 70 in his 38th ball and England being reduced to 132/3, the visitors lost two quickfire wickets for just 20 runs. The Proteas bowlers showed composure in the dead overs and defended 28 runs in the last three overs.
Lungi Ngidi bowled a brilliant last over as gave away only six runs and took a wicket of Tom Curran to restrict England at 176. He returned with the figures of 3/30 and was the pick of the bowlers for the Proteas. Andile Phehlukwayo and Beuran Hendricks took two wickets each, while Steyn contributed with one scalp.
Earlier, batting first, all the South African batsmen got off to a good start but failed to capitalise. Captain Quinton de Kock gave them a blistering start as he made 31 off 15 balls. Opening with him, Temba Bavuma also played his part with 43 in 27 deliveries.
However, the hosts should feel unlucky that with a score of 111/2 in 11 overs they had failed to finish nearby 200. After both the openers were sent back to the pavilion, the scoring rate had taken a dip with Rassie van de Dussen (31 off 26) and David Miller (16 off 14) struggling to find boundaries with ease.
The next batsmen followed the same and failed to increase the run-rate with JJ Smuts playing a run-a-ball innings of 20 runs, while Phehlukwayo made 18 in 15 balls.
Chris Jordan took 2/28, whereas spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid did the actual damage by bowling under an economy of 6. While Moeen returned with figures of 1/22, Adil got 1/24. Tom Curran and Ben Stokes also got a wicket each.
The two teams will now head to Kingsmead in Durban on Friday to play the second T20I of the three-match series.