Bristol [UK], August 4 (ANI): Top knocks from Reeza Hendricks and Aiden Markram backed by great bowling spells from spinners Keshav Maharaj and Wayne Parnell helped South Africa clinch a 21-run win over Ireland in the closely-contested first T20I of two-match series at Bristol on Wednesday.
With this, South Africa has a 1-0 lead in the series. South Africa put a score of 211/5 in their 20 overs. Hendricks scored an explosive 74 off 53 balls while Aiden Markram scored 56 off 27 balls. Gareth Delany was the best bowler for Ireland with 2/31 in three overs.
Chasing 212, knocks from wicketkeeper-batter Lorcan Tucker (78 off 38 balls) and all-rounder George Dockrell (43 off 28 balls) kept South Africa in contention but the wickets kept falling constantly from the other end. Keshav Maharaj (2/29) and Wayne Parnell (2/36) lead spin and pace attacks with their excellent bowling.
Electing to bat first, SA lost opener Quinton De Kock for just 7 when the team was at 23, followed by Rassie van der Dussen for just 10, which reduced the Proteas to 2/45.
Then Hendricks and Markram smashed English bowlers all over the park and carried on with a more attacking approach. It helped them stitch a 112-run stand in just 60 balls. The stand was broken when Delany dismissed Markram for 56 off 27, consisting of two fours and five sixes. Hendricks was also out the very next ball for 74 off 53 balls.
Then came Tristan Stubbs. The batter scored a quickfire 24 off 11 balls before Josh Little took his wicket. South Africa was 5/185 at that point. Then Henrich Klassen (6) and Dwaine Pretorius (21) took their side to 211/5.
Delany was the pick of the bowlers with 2/31. Little and Andy McBrine took one each.
Chasing 212, openers Paul Stirling and captain Andy Balbirnie tried to go for some quick runs. Parnell dismissed both the dangerous openers for 18 and 14 respectively. It reduced Ireland to 2/43.
Lorcan Tucker was trying his level best to stabilise the innings, but found no support from other batters and his team was reeling at 5/84. He found an able partner in George Dockrell and they put on an 86-run stand which threatened to tilt things in Ireland's favour. However, Tabraiz Shamsi and Pretorius took both of their wickets in successive balls and Ireland was now 7/170.
Rest of the batters could not put much fight against the Proteas and they were bundled out for 190. Ireland had lost a well-fought match by 21 runs.
Maharaj (2/29), Parnell (2/36) and Shamsi (2/37) were the best bowlers for SA. Lungi Ngidi and Pretorius took one scalp each.
Hendricks earned 'Man of the Match' award for his half-century. (ANI)