CAPE TOWN – A national record second-wicket partnership between Faf du Plessis and Reeza Hendricks powered South Africa to a thrilling six-run victory over Pakistan in the first T20I at Newlands on Friday night.
Du Plessis blasted 78 off just 45 balls (6x4, 4x6) and Hendricks 71 off 41 balls (8x4, 2x6) in a 131-run partnership.
It eclipsed the previous record held by Quinton de Kock and Rilee Rossouw, set in Adelaide 2014-15.
South Africa’s 192/6 was also the highest T20 International score at Newlands.
The Proteas seemed on track for a score in excess of 200 when Du Plessis and Hendricks were flaying away, but their departure saw South Africa add just a further 35 runs for the loss of four wickets off the final 26 deliveries of their innings.
Left-arm seamer Usman Shinwari (3/31) was chiefly responsible for this collapse.
This gave Pakistan the momentum heading into their innings, which continued despite the early loss of Fakhar Zaman.
Babar Azam (38 off 27) and Hussain Talat (40 off 32) ensured the visitors kept up with the asking rate.
However, one of them needed to take the innings deep as Pakistan lost wickets at regular intervals that allowed South Africa to maintain the pressure.
Captain Shoaib Malik (49 off 31 balls), though, kept the candle burning for his team, but he too holed out when Chris Morris (2/39) held his nerve by defending 16 runs in the final over.
The second T20I will be held at the Wanderers on Sunday.
A huge mention has to go to this man, @DavidMillerSA12! 🙌🇿🇦— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) February 1, 2019
Six dismissals in one match; four catches and two magnificent run outs to help SA take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series #KFCT20 #ProteaFire #SAvPAK pic.twitter.com/a55g37bBgR