England hit their second-highest T20 score of 234-6 as Jonny Bairstow (90) and Moeen Ali (52) star before Tristan Stubbs (72 off 28) smokes South Africa to 193-8 in reply; England lead three-match series 1-0 - watch game two on Sky Sports Cricket on Thursday (6pm on air)
Thursday 28 July 2022 08:14, UK
Jonny Bairstow continued his extraordinary summer with 90 from 53 balls while Moeen Ali slammed an England-record 16-ball T20I fifty as Jos Buttler's side marmalised sloppy South Africa for 234-6 en route to a 41-run win in an astonishing series opener at Bristol.
Bairstow followed four exhilarating Test hundreds in five innings across matches against New Zealand and India with a six-laden knock against the Proteas as England racked up their second-highest T20 total of all time, behind only their 241-3 against New Zealand in Napier in 2019.
Bairstow clubbed eight sixes and three fours amid being dropped a staggering four times by South Africa - Heinrich Klaasen (twice), Rilee Rossouw and Reeza Hendricks the guilty parties - and sharing a riotous stand of 106 from just 37 balls with the history-making Moeen (52 off 18).
The tourists gave the chase a terrific go with 21-year-old Tristan Stubbs (72 off 28) striking a 19-ball half-century and eight monster sixes after Hendricks smote 57 from 33 balls in a south-west run-fest.
But South Africa ended on 193-8 with Chris Jordan's three-run 18th over all but extinguishing the Proteas' hopes - they needed 51 from 12 balls after that - before Stubbs' sparkling innings came to an end at the start of a three-wicket 19th over from Richard Gleeson (3-51).
The three-match series now moves to Cardiff on Thursday before concluding in Southampton on Sunday.
Moeen mowed six sixes in total - the last of which took him to a record-breaking half-century - with three of his maximums coming in as many balls in a 33-run 17th over as Andile Phehlukwayo (1-63 from four overs) was annihilated by the left-hander and the in-form Bairstow.
Phehlukwayo shipped five sixes in total in that over - Bairstow having started it by bashing successive balls into the stands - with England's innings containing 20 maximums all told as spinners Tabraiz Shamsi (0-49 from three) and Stubbs (0-20 from one) also went the distance.
Lungi Ngidi bagged 5-39 amid the carnage, having England skipper Buttler (22 off 7) caught brilliantly by a backpedalling South Africa captain David Miller at long-off in the powerplay - that grab the undoubted highlight of a dismal fielding effort from the tourists.
One alert fan showed South Africa how it should be done as he caught one six Moeen had hauled over square leg on an evening on which Dawid Malan (43 off 23) also fired for a rampant England.
Malan was Phehlukwayo's sole victim, snicking behind to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, while De Kock was also the catcher when Ngidi dismissed Moeen and Liam Livingstone (5) on the slog in the death overs.
Ngidi clinched his five-for when he had Bairstow caught by Rossouw at midwicket in the final over - Rossouw pouching a player he had dropped in the same spot on 57 and ending Bairstow's hopes of a century.
Ngidi's other wicket was that of the out-of-sorts Jason Roy (8 off 15), who sliced a slower ball to Klaasen at short third man in the fifth over.
Klaasen took that catch but had on otherwise horrid night in the field, letting Buttler's cover drive slip through him for four in the opening over before he spilled the blistering Bairstow twice later on, once at deep midwicket on 12 as he ran in too far and then at square leg on 77.
The worst drop of the evening, though, came from Hendricks at long-on as he gifted Bairstow a lifeline on 72 by shelling an absolute sitter.
Hendricks tried his best with the bat, biffing a 28-ball fifty after Reece Topley (2-29) had dismissed De Kock (2) and Rossouw (4) in the second over of the chase.
Hendricks holed out to midwicket off Moeen in the 10th over, at which point South Africa were 86-4 with Klaasen (20) having slashed a googly from Adil Rashid (2-17) to Jordan at long-on in the eighth.
But Stubbs gave England real jitters with some humongous sixes in just his third T20 international, bossing stands with Miller (8) and Phehlukwayo (22) before he lofted Gleeson to Roy at long-off.
England captain Jos Buttler: "It was a great performance. We've been looking for that complete performance and the guys stood up. We posted a brilliant total. It looked under threat for a while, but I'm delighted with the win. There wasn't that margin for error as Stubbs was going so well and (Jordan) bowled a brilliant 18th over. It changed the momentum."
Player of the Match, Moeen Ali: "It's a great wicket and a great-sized ground for myself. I'm not a massive hitter of the ball like some of the boys, so it's about keeping my shape and if you get a good bat on it then it generally travels here. Jonny [Bairstow] is so powerful, I try to remind him of the good things he does."
England and South Africa meet again in Cardiff on Thursday in the second T20 international (6.30pm first ball, 6pm on air) before the series concludes in Southampton on Sunday (2.30pm first ball, 2pm on air).
Then, from mid-August, the sides will play a three-Test series, starting at Lord's (August 17-21) before further matches at Emirates Old Trafford (August 25-29) and The Kia Oval (September 8-12).
Watch the second T20 international between England and South Africa, from Sophia Gardens Cardiff, live on Sky Sports Cricket on Thursday. Coverage starts at 6pm with the first ball at 6.30pm.