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Proteas Get Stuck in First T20I Defeat

The Proteas were soundly beaten by England at the Ageas Bowl as the bowlers never really stood a chance of defending a woefully under-par score from their batting colleagues in the first of three T20 Internationals. In the end, Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow took their team to a convincing 9 wicket victory with five and a half over remaining.

While Wayne Parnell was once again not up to snuff with the new ball and Imran Tahir was given the treatment to the tune of three overs, none for 37, the match got away from South African long before the total defence began.

Coupled with some very smart bowling by the English attack was some very intelligent captaincy and field placing by Eoin Morgan. That ensured that AB de Villiers and Farhaan Behardien never really found any gaps to get boundaries. More worryingly though, was the painful struggle that both those men had trying to get to terms with the pace of the wicket.

Make no mistake, England’s bowlers – especially 20-year-old leg-spinner, on debut, Mason Crane and his Hampshire spin partner Liam Dawson – were excellent in bowling to their plans and to their fields, but only four 4’s and two 6’s from 110 deliveries between de Villiers and Behardien has to make one question their urgency particularly with South Africa having left so many wickets back in the pavilion at innings end.

It certainly wasn’t the pitch as Hales and Bairstow proved.

The series moves to Taunton in Somerset next where buckets of runs are predicted. Dane Paterson and Morne Morkel might get a look-in to play but selection for this series is really just a horses-for-courses approach. Let’s just hope whichever side take the park is able to mount a more effective challenge with both bat and ball second time around.

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