190306 Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow of England made the most of three lives to help the visitors to a huge total of 234 for six against South Africa. Image Credit: AFP

Bristol: Jonny Bairstow’s excellent season continued as he made 90 in England’s 41-run win over South Africa in the 1st T20 international at Bristol on Wednesday.

Moeen Ali compiled England’s quickest T20 fifty, off just 16 balls, in the hosts’ 234 fox six - their second highest total at this level behind the 241-3 they posted against New Zealand at Napier in 2019. Proteas quick Lungi Ngidi still took an excellent 5-39, his career best T20 international figures.

England’s Reece Topley then struck twice in the second over to reduce South Africa to 7-2, the in-form left-arm quick removing dangerman Quinton de Kock and Rilee Rossouw.

South Africa were 86-4 in the 10th over, with Reeza Hendricks having made 57 off 33 balls, when Tristan Stubbs hauled them back into the game with a brilliant maiden T20 international fifty off just 19 balls, including six soaring sixes. Even allowing for a good pitch and a relatively small ground, it was a superb display of ball-striking by the 21-year-old Stubbs.

With South Africa needing 54 off 18 balls, paceman Chris Jordan conceded just three runs as Andile Phehlukwayo defeated by several yorkers. It was a decisive over, with South Africa also paying dearly for several fielding errors earlier in the match.

With 51 needed off the last two overs, Stubbs launched Richard Gleeson to long-off as a brilliant innings of 72 off just 28 balls came to an end, with South Africa finishing on 193-8.

The last thing South Africa needed to do was help Bairstow on his way. But in his first short-form appearance for eight months, he was missed on 12, 57 and 72 as Heinrich Klaasen, Rossouw and Hendricks fumbled catches in the deep after Proteas T20 captain David Miller won the toss.

After Nigidi removed England captain Jos Buttler and fellow opener Jason Roy, it was left to Dawid Malan (43) and Bairstow to revive the hosts’ innings.

Bairstow had his first reprieve when Klaasen misjudged a chance off Tabraiz Shamsi, losing sight of the ball as it cleared him for six.

Brief Scores: England 234-6 off 20 overs (J Bairstow 90, Moeen Ali 52; L Ngidi 5-39) vs South Africa 193-8, 20 overs (T. Stubbs 72, R Hendricks 57; R Gleeson 3-51, A Rashid 2-17, R Topley 2-29). England won by 41 runs

Series: England lead three-match series 1-0.