AAJ CRICKET

South Africa defeat Pakistan in opening T20I by 6 runs

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Pakistan were chasing a target of 193, but managed 186 runs by the end of 20 overs.

 

 South Africa won the first Twenty20 international against Pakistan by six runs after a thrilling contest at Newlands on Friday.

Pakistan were chasing a target of 193, but managed 186 runs by the end of 20 overs.

Faf du Plessis and Reeza Hendricks earlier shared a record partnership before Pakistan initially fought back.

South Africa made 192 for six after being sent in. It was the highest total in a T20 international at Newlands but it seemed likely to be much higher when Du Plessis and Hendricks were plundering the bowlers in a second-wicket stand of 131 off 74 balls.

Du Plessis made 78 off 45 balls and Hendricks hit 74 off 41 deliveries.

But Du Plessis’s dismissal in the 16th over sparked a mini-collapse and South Africa lost five wickets while scoring only 35 runs in the last 28 balls of the innings.

Left-arm fast bowler Usman Shinwari dismissed Du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen in the same over and finished with three for 31.

Hendricks, who hit eight fours and two sixes, said South Africa had been on track to score around 220. “We lost our way a bit,” he said.

Du Plessis was in imperious form, striking six fours and four sixes before driving Shinwari to Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik at mid-off. Van der Dussen was caught behind without scoring by a diving wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan two balls later.

South Africa suffered a blow before the match when wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock was ruled out of the series because of a groin injury. He was replaced in the squad by uncapped Janneman Malan.

Skipper Malik had earlier said he did not expect the pitch to change much. “It is more of a tactical decision” to bowl first, he said.

Malik said Pakistan were keen to build on an outstanding 2018 when Pakistan won 17 out of 19 Twenty20 internationals. “It is more or less the same squad except our captain (suspended Sarfraz Ahmed) is not here,” he said.

Du Plessis said he also would have bowled if he had won the toss.

The South African team included only four of the players who clinched the one-day series at Newlands on Wednesday.

“It is exciting to give some new guys opportunities,” said Du Plessis.