Off the back of a four-wicket haul from Tabraiz Shamsi, South Africa beat Ireland by 33 runs in the first T20I.
Sent out to bat, South Africa posted a total of 165/7 and held Ireland to 132/9, with Shamsi the standout performer with figures of 4/27.
Sitting on top of the ICC T20I bowling rankings, Shamsi is in ominous form heading into the ICC T20 World Cup 2021. Across 13 T20Is this year, he has taken 21 wickets at 13.28, leaking just 5.47 runs per over. He is the only bowler to have taken more than 20 T20I wickets this year, while his economy is the second-best of any bowler who has taken 10 T20I wickets in men's cricket in 2021.
Courtesy of a quickfire 20 off nine from Quinton de Kock, the Proteas enjoyed a fast start to their innings but struggled for fluidity after the opener's dismissal. Having enjoyed a 31-run opening stand in the first two and a half overs, the tourists slid to 44/3 by the sixth over as Janneman Malan (4) and captain Temba Bavuma (13) also perished.
Aiden Markram (39), Rassie van der Dussen (25) and David Miller (28) all managed starts but none could post a significant score or accelerate the innings meaningfully and by the 19th over the Proteas were 144/7, at risk of posting a total below 160.
Thankfully for Bavuma’s side, Kagiso Rabada continued his impressive run with the bat, smashing an unbeaten 19 off nine. The pace spearhead hit four consecutive boundaries in the final over to finish South Africa’s innings with a bang and dented Mark Adair’s figures of 3/39 from four overs.
South Africa’s total looked in little danger of being chased down, as Ireland slumped to 34/4 before the end of the Powerplay. Having hit Ireland’s first ball of the innings for six, Paul Stirling was bowled on the second by George Linde (2/26) and his opening partner, Kevin O’Brien, fell caught and bowled for a golden duck to Rabada (1/28) in the very next over. Lungi Ngidi (2/18) continued the strong start for South Africa by dismissing George Dockrell (2) with his first ball of the match in the fourth over and followed it up by removing Andy Balbirnie (22) in the sixth.
With things already looking grim for Ireland, South Africa brought Shamsi into the attack and the in-form spinner added to the hosts' woes, striking with his fifth delivery to bowl Simi Singh (4).
He picked up another two wickets – Shane Getkate (2) and Adair (0) – in his third over and by the end of his fourth, in which he removed Harry Tector (36), Ireland were 93/9 with six overs to go.
To their credit, Ireland managed to bat out the remainder of their 20 overs, with Barry McCarthy (30) and Josh Little (15) putting on an unbeaten 44 runs.
The two teams next meet on Thursday, with both sides looking to fine-tune their games ahead of the T20 World Cup.
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