The Proteas bowlers, led by the best T20 International bowler in the world, Tabraiz Shamsi, put in a superb performance to limit Ireland to 132 for nine in their 20 overs, handing the visitors a comfortable 33-run win in the first T20I at The Village in Dublin on Monday.
After Ireland had won the toss and sent the Proteas in to bat, the hosts kept the visitors to a par score of 165 for seven. However, Ireland’s chase never got off the ground as regular wickets fell throughout their innings, with Shamsi tearing through their lineup on his way to figures of 4-27 off four overs.
Ireland’s innings started explosively as opener Paul Stirling hammered the first ball from George Linde for six. However, he was then bowled around his legs with the very next ball, leaving them on six for one.
Kevin O’ Brien popped his first ball straight back to Kagiso Rabada at the start of the second over to fall for a duck with Ireland on seven for two.
Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie tried to release the pressure with a couple of boundaries off Rabada and one off Linde. However, Lungi Ngidi joined the attack and had George Dockrell (2) caught behind by keeper Quinton de Kock with the first ball of the fourth over as Ireland slipped to 23 for three.
New man Harry Tector received a lifeline in the fifth over when he was dropped on two by De Kock off the bowling of Lizaad Williams after top-edging an attempted pull. Tector went on to top-score for the hosts with 36 off 34 balls (3×4).
THE SHAMSI SHOW
The start of the final over of the powerplay saw Balbirnie trying to cash in, however, he could only edge behind to keeper De Kock after trying to uppercut a short and wide ball from Ngidi to fall for a well-played 22 off 16 balls (4×4), leaving Ireland in deep trouble on 34 for four.
It then became the Shamsi show as he claimed four of the next five wickets, first bowling Simi Singh (2) before Linde bowled Lorcan Tucker (5). Shamsi followed by bowling Shane Getkate (2), had Mark Adair caught by Linde for a duck and bamboozled Tector as he was stumped by De Kock as Ireland crashed to 88 for nine in the 14th over.
A valiant unbeaten last-wicket stand of 44 runs between Barry McCarthy 30* off 25 balls (4×4) and Josh Little, 15* off 18 (1×6) saw Ireland cross the 100-run mark before finishing their innings well short.
Ngidi, 2-18 and Linde, 2-26, were the other main contributors with the ball for the Proteas.
In the first innings, a poor batting effort from the Proteas was given a boost by pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada as they posted an average 165 for seven at the end of their 20 overs.
The visitors had limped to 148 for seven at the end of the 19th over after none of their batsmen could convert their starts to a big score, before Rabada hammered the first four balls of Mark Adair’s final over to the boundary as 17 came from it, allowing the Proteas to reach a more competitive total.
Despite seeing his final over carted by Rabada, Adair still finished as the best Irish bowler with figures of 3-39 from his four overs, while Simi Singh, 2-19, and Josh Little, 2-27, backed him up well.
Rabada ended his cameo with 19 valuable runs off just nine balls (4×4), while Aiden Markram, 39 off 30 (2×4, 2×6), David Miller, 28 off 21 (3×4), Rassie van der Dussen, 25 off 18 (2×4, 1×6), and Quinton de Kock, 20 off nine balls (3×4, 1×6), all got starts but couldn’t kick on to get the Proteas to a big score.
The Proteas innings got off to a superb start as De Kock and captain Temba Bavuma took 11 off the first over from Paul Stirling and 12 off the second bowled by Barry McCarthy as they cruised to 23 without loss.
Adair joined the attack and although De Kock hit his first two balls for boundaries, Adair got his revenge as the fourth ball of the over saw De Kock miss-time a drive straight to Stirling at mid-off with the Proteas 31 for one.
Janneman Malan (5) struggled to get going and miss-hit a shot straight to Singh at midwicket in Adair’s next over as they slipped to 37 for two.
FREEING HIS ARMS
The first ball of the sixth over, bowled by Singh, saw Bavuma attempt a reverse sweep, only to edge straight to keeper Lorcan Tucker, leaving the Proteas in big trouble on 44 for three.
It was then up to Markram and Van der Dussen to rebuild the Proteas’ innings and they took their time, taking the Proteas past 50 in the seventh over and slowly to 61 for three after nine overs.
Van Der Dussen decided to free the arms and clobbered George Dockrell for a four and a six in the 10th and hammered a boundary off the first ball of Little’s 11th. However, he then tamely toe-ended the next ball straight to Andrew Balbirnie at cover with the score on 79 for four.
Markram was watchful for another over, with 19 runs off 21 balls by the end of the 12th over. However, he decided to pick up the scoring as 15 came off McCarthy’s 13th over, with the Proteas crossing the 100-run mark, thanks in part to two boundaries from Markram and one from Miller.
A six from Markram was part of 11 runs off Stirling’s 14th over, at which point the Proteas were well-poised on 115 for four.
However, Markram fell in the first ball of the next over, coming down the wicket to a Singh googly, only for the ball to spin away from him, allowing keeper Tucker to whip off the bails.
Miller managed to hit a few boundaries, while George Linde, 10 off 13, couldn’t really get going as both fell. Linde was caught on the boundary off Adair and Miller was caught behind off Little at the start of the 19th, with the Proteas struggling on 144 for seven before Rabada’s finish.
IRELAND: Andrew Balbirnie (capt), Paul Stirling, Kevin O Brien, Harry Tector, George Dockrell, Lorcan Tucker (wk), Shane Getkate, Simi Singh, Mark Adair, Barry McCarthy, Joshua Little
SOUTH AFRICA: Quinton de Kock (wk), Temba Bavuma (capt), Janneman Malan, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, George Linde, Kagiso Rabada, Lizaad Williams, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi