South Africa Downs Bangladesh

Faf Du Plessis led from the front with an unbeaten 79 off 61 balls as South Africa opened their tour of Bangladesh with a 52-run victory over their hosts in the first T20 International at Mirpur on Sunday.  Du Plessis, who scored eight of the only 11 fours that the Proteas managed in their innings after winning the toss, set up the total of 148/4 in partnerships of 46 for the third wicket with JP Duminy and then an unbroken 58 for the fifth wicket with Rilee Rossouw.  The South Africans’ total was probably a bit below the target they had set themselves and it needed the bowlers to hit their straps from the start.

This they did to perfection as they bowled Bangladesh out for 96 in 19 overs with the last eight wickets falling for 46 runs in 11 overs.  As well as Du Plessis batted, the biggest plus was undoubtedly the performance of a very inexperienced bowling attack, four of whom have played fewer than 10 T20 International matches each.  Duminy and Aaron Phangiso both turned the ball sharply and had a combined return of 3/32 in their eight overs.

And it could have been even better as Phangiso had two very good appeals, first for a catch behind the wicket and then for lbw, turned down.  On a typical sub-continental surface of slow pace and low bounce David Wiese was also highly impressive.  What was most pleasing about the bowling performance was the maturity the players showed in employing good tactics that worked to perfection.

It was a day for the less experienced members of the South African side with Rossouw again underlining his talent with his unbeaten knock of 31 off 21 balls (two fours and two sixes) that enabled the Proteas to get a better total that at one stage seemed likely.  The fielding was out of the top drawer as well, nothing being better than Quinton De Kock’s effort in anticipating a reverse sweep to take an outstanding catch.  It was good to see the Proteas finding top form in their first international outing of the tour as that is something that has been problematic in the past.