England 234 for 6 (Bairstow 90, Moeen 52, Ngidi 5-39) beat South Africa 193 for 8 (Stubbs 72, Hendricks 57, Gleeson 3-51) by 41 runs

Jonny Bairstow hit a career-best 90 and Moeen Ali scored England’s fastest T20I fifty as the hosts racked up their second-biggest score in the format in a high-scoring clash. As a result, South Africa were asked to complete their highest successful chase and stayed in it until the 18th over, thanks to Tristan Stubbs’ first international innings in his third match. He scored a 28-ball 72 and shared in stands of 65 with Heinrich Klaasen and 50 with David Miller but it was not quite enough.
Bairstow continued a golden 2022, which has been headlined by four Test centuries, and shared in two explosive stands. He put on 71 in 45 balls with Dawid Malan but that was just the start. Bairstow and Moeen plundered 101 in 35 balls, the second-fastest century stand in a T20I, at a rate of 18.17. In the process, England hit 18 sixes, their most in a T20I. South Africa responded with half that number, eight from Stubbs’ bat.
In hindsight, South Africa may blame their fielding display for their defeat in this match. They dropped Bairstow three times, two of them simple catches, which will lead to questions about their ability to handle pressure. The same could be asked of their attack, who appeared spooked by the short, straight boundaries, bowled too short, and lost their shape. Andile Phehlukwayo conceded the second-most runs by a South African in a T20I and Lungi Ngidi picked up the most expensive five-for, a career-best 5 for 39.
South Africa may have been stunned, more so when they were reduced to 7 for 2 in the second over of the reply. But Reeza Hendricks showed some mettle with his eighth T20I fifty and Stubbs proved the find of the night, albeit it not enough to get a win.

Are we worried about Jason Roy?

A question that seems moot given the way England batted, but let’s go there. Roy has only scored one fifty in nine T20I innings this year, and has been dismissed in single figures five times, including today. Ngidi’s slower ball has had the better of several batters in the last few months and he delivered a particularly skilful one in his second over which tricked Roy into thinking he could heave over the off-side. He didn’t account for the lack of pace, was through the shot early and ended up only top-edging an ugly swipe to be caught at point. England were 41 for 2 in the fifth over.

It looks like those lunges with Sam Curran sitting on his shoulders have helped Bairstow build extra strength for his T20 game. He moved on from Roy’s dismissal by targeting South Africa’s spinners. His first boundary came with a pull off Keshav Maharaj through mid-wicket and his second, a smash through cow corner that was hit so hard Heinrich Klaasen didn’t pick it up as it sailed over his head. Shamsi took a tonking his next over too, as Dawid Malan hit him over extra cover and then Bairstow flat-batted him for four and swung him into the stands on the legside to take England to halfway on 98 for 2. Bairstow went on to his eighth T20 fifty, off 36 balls, in his first T20I of the year. It’s also Bairstow’s first fifty in ten T20I innings, and he had only been given one (tough) chance at that point, Bairstow went on to be dropped on 56, 72 and 77.

Welcome to it, Tristan Stubbs

Picked as a big-hitting batter, Stubbs had yet to face a ball in international cricket (he did not bat in the first two games he played) before his offspin was asked to come into action. South Africa went into the match with only five frontline bowling options and no Aiden Markram, so when David Miller wanted to try something different, his only choice was Stubbs.

Miller chose a pressure moment, with England were on 148 for 3 after 15 overs, to introduce Stubbs and his first two balls went well before Bairstow smoked his third ball over long-on and then tried to clear deep mid-wicket but didn’t get enough to go over the square boundary. Rilee Rossouw ran in and got to the ball but it slipped through his fingers. Bairstow was on 56, and Stubbs’ nightmare was not over. He was called for a back-foot no-ball on what should have been the last ball of the over, Moeen Ali hit him for six but mercifully the free hit only resulted in two runs.

Stubbs’ over cost 20. But he more than made up for it with a power-hitting display that, on another day, might have made the main headline. Stubbs hit eight sixes and two fours in the 28 balls he faced and has provided South Africa with another finishing option.

And welcome back to it, Rilee Rossouw

After a nightmare in the field including that Bairstow drop, Rossouw didn’t give himself the chance to make up for it with the bat. He pulled the second ball he faced but then tried to cut the fourth and top-edged to third man to depart for four. After six years out of the national side, and a stellar season in the T20 Blast with Somerset, that’s not the return Rossouw would have wanted to make, especially as it gave Reece Topley a second wicket in his opening over and left South Africa with a massive job to do.
If England were worried about having the rug pulled from under them, Chris Jordan ensured it was firmly plugged in with an exceptional third over, the 18th of South Africa’s innings. Jordan nailed the yorker three times and tested Phehlukwayo with outswing to deny South Africa a boundary for the first time since the 11th over and effectively end the contest. South Africa needed 54 runs off 18 balls before his over and 51 off 12 balls afterwards. He also bowled the last over and finished with 0 for 30.