CAPE TOWN: Jonny Bairstow's highest T20I score helped England produce a stunning fightback to clinch the first T20I against South Africa here at Newlands on Friday (local time).
All-rounder Ben Stokes assisted Bairstow with a 27 ball 37 as visitors sealed the first match by five wickets. Chasing 180, England got off to the worst possible start as Jason Roy made a walk back in the very first over.
A few minutes later, Lungi Ngidi struck with the first ball of his spell as Jos Buttler departed after scoring a paltry seven runs. Dawid Malan, who is currently ranked number one, wasn't able to leave a mark as George Linde removed him in the very next over.
With the score at 34-3, Bairstow and all-rounder Stokes came together, the pair rebuilt the innings as they blasted the ball to all parts to pile the pressure back on South Africa. Earlier after being put in to bat, South Africa smashed 179/6 on the back of Faf du Plessis' gutsy half-century.
After losing a wicket early, Du Plessis was next in and helped skipper Quinton de Kock (30 off 23 balls) add 77 for the second wicket in what was the biggest stand for the home side.
Most of the other runs came via the bat of Rassie van der Dussen (37 off 28 balls) and that of Heinrich Klaasen (20), with Linde's 12 off six balls helping the innings end with a flourish.
For South Africa, Du Plessis impressed for South Africa by top-scoring with 58 off 40 balls (4 fours, 2 sixes), while George Linde also excelled on debut by claiming two for 20 in four overs - 13 of his deliveries being dot balls.
Brief Scores: South Africa 179/6 (Du Plessis 58, van der Dussen 34; Sam Curran 3/28); England 183/5 (Bairstow 86, Stokes 37; Linde 2/20)(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)