Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis smashed an unbeaten 79 to lead the Proteas to a convincing 52-run win over Bangladesh in the first Twenty20 International in Mirpur.
Du Plessis would have been mulling over his decision to bat first initially as openers AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock were both dismissed early on.
Du Plessis and Jean-Paul (JP) Duminy somewhat stabilised the innings with a 47-run partnership before Duminy and David Miller were removed in quick succession.
However, du Plessis and Rilee Rossouw gave South Africa a major boost towards the end of their innings as they mustered an unbeaten 58-run partnership to help the Proteas finish on 148/4 off their 20 overs.
Du Plessis ended up scoring 79 off 61 balls, which included eight boundaries, while Rossouw remained undefeated on 31 off 21 deliveries, which included two boundaries and two sixes.
Arafat Sunny was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Nasir Hossain and Shakib Al Hasan chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 149 to win, Bangladesh began to collapse right from the beginning as they lost Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar within the first two overs.
Just when they looked to be rebuilding their innings, disaster struck and they ended up losing their last eight wickets for just 46 runs.
Al Hasan was the top-scorer with 26 runs, while debutant Litton Das was the only other batsman to surpass the 20-run mark as he made 22.
Duminy, Kagiso Rabada and David Wiese took two wickets apiece, while Kyle Abbott, Wayne Parnell and Aaron Phangiso claimed one wicket each.
Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza was disappointed with his side’s performance, and said: “Bowlers bowled petty well. We would have done well to restrict them to 130, but we couldn’t build partnerships as a batting order. The wicket looked a bit slow, it was a plan [to start with the spinners] and all the bowlers bowled well, I think. I think the batters played too many shots, but we can fix it, it’s not too much of a worry, the way they are batting. We’ll be back in the next match.”
Du Plessis, who was named Man of the Match, was thrilled to have taken a 1-0 lead in the series, and said: “Wicket was tough, especially with the new ball. The spinners were bowling well, the ball wasn’t bouncing much. It took time to get used to the conditions, but once we got in we started playing well. Old man [Duminy] bowled well today, the wicket was conducive to the spinners, and he put them under real pressure. It’s good when you have someone like JP who can chip in with the ball as well.
“It’s nice to be batting again. We’ve been off for two months or so, so it’s nice to play competitive cricket again. It’s a knock that you’d like to play as a batter. Not the easiest wicket, not a flat T20 wicket, had to graft a lot. The ball was spinning and staying low, we just needed a partnership, and Rilee played really well. That was the match-winning partnership.”