Despite a change in formats, South Africa’s fortune of facing the music in England continued as the Proteas were decimated by the hosts by 9 wickets in the first T20I at Southampton. The Proteas were without their regular skipper Faf du Plessis and bore a fresh looking outfit with a couple of debutants lined up and with AB de Villiers making up for the captaincy. However, on a track that was a paradise for batsmen, the South Africans could only manage 142-3 in 20 overs.
This came on the back of a superb start for England as pacer David Willey struck on the very first ball of the game. Having lost three quick wickets, de Villiers and Farhaan Behardien got together, but could only take the team to a dismal 142. Eventually, England chased down the target with more than 5 overs to spare, with Jonny Bairstow scoring an unbeaten 60 off 35 deliveries.
Post the win, skipper Eoin Morgan lauded his outfit for such a dominating performance.
“To be honest I thought we were excellent,” said Morgan. “We picked early wickets, they came back hard but we still did well by containing them. The spinners managed to tie up the best players of our generation. They never let them get away, two inexperienced bowlers bowling on their home ground and they did really well. The ball wasn’t coming onto the bat as we thought and they were bowling into the pitch to keep it tight.”
Lauding comeback man Jonny Bairstow, he said,
“Bairstow is so hungry to do well, chances for him have been few and far in between but he has done tremendously for us. Joe Root is not an easy player to kick out of the side but he has been exceptional.”
Bairstow was named the Man of the Match, and he was delighted to be among the runs.
“Pretty pleased with my form, have a few shots I did not have 18 months ago. With that comes confidence and I am feeling good. It is all about being clinical, we do not want to leave it to anyone else and get over the line. That is how we want to be as a side. We want to be the best we can be and that is what we did today,” he said.