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Bairstow stars again, England beats South Africa in 1st T20

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Jonny Bairstow kept up his strong all-format form this summer by smashing a 53-ball 90 in England’s 41-run win over South Africa on Wednesday in the first Twenty20 international of the three-match series.

Bairstow hit eight sixes and three fours to help guide England to 234-6 after being put in to bat at Bristol.

Moeen Ali weighed in by crashing 52 off 18 balls, including six sixes, an England record for the fastest 50 in a Twenty20 cricket international. Moeen reached his 50 in just 16 balls, beating teammate Liam Livingstone’s year-old record by a single delivery.

“It means a lot, there are guys in our changing room who score quickly and now I can brag about fastest 50 in T20 cricket for England,” Moeen said. “This was a nice-sized ground for someone like myself, who isn’t the most massive hitter of a ball.”

South Africa slumped to 7-2 after two overs and could only make 193-8 in response despite Tristan Stubbs’ 72 off 28 deliveries.

Bairstow was a standout for England in the test match format against New Zealand and India this summer. In his last five test innings, he hit 136, 162, 71 not out, 106 and 114 not out.

The Yorkshire batter had been an injury doubt for the T20 series opener after leaving Tuesday’s practice session at the Seat Unique Stadium with ice packs and strapping around his left knee.

South Africa seam bowler Lungi Ngidi took five for 39 and said his team always believed it had a chance after the 21-year-old Stubbs’ performance in his first international innings.

“We definitely thought we could chase it down. Anything was chase-able in the last five (overs) but we lost too many wickets,” Ngidi said. “We had full faith in Stubbs. He’s shown us what he is capable of in training. I’ve bowled to him myself and been on the receiving end of what we saw tonight.”

The second T20 is scheduled for Thursday and the third match is on Sunday.

AP

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