Cricket: Jonny Bairstow blasts England to T20 victory over South Africa

​​​Jonny Bairstow has powered an unbeaten 86 from 48 deliveries, as England beat South Africa with four balls to spare in their first T20 international at Newlands. 

Sent into bat, South Africa posted a respectable 179/6 in their 20 overs, before claiming early wickets to have England in trouble in their reply.

But Bairstow, batting in an unfamiliar No.4 position, led the fightback, sitting deep in his crease to smash nine fours and four sixes with the kind of exquisite timing few other batsmen found on the day.

The win will please captain Eoin Morgan, who said he did not know his best XI in the shortest format, but may already have some questions answered before Monday's second fixture at Paarl. 

South Africa's innings was anchored by the experienced Faf du Plessis (58 from 40 balls), who was especially brutal on Tom Curran (1/55), smashing the England seamer for 24 runs in his second over and contributing to his most expensive figures in international T20 cricket.

Brother Sam Curran (3/28) exacted some family revenge, when he had Du Plessis caught on the boundary by Chris Jordan. He was the pick of the visitors' attack with his career-best figures, and clever change of pace and ability to surprise with the short ball on a slow wicket.

England bowler Chris Jordan.
England bowler Chris Jordan. Photo credit: Reuters

Quinton de Kock (30) and Rassie van der Dussen (37) also provided useful runs for the home side.

In reply, England were in early trouble, losing Jason Roy (0) second ball to George Linde, as South Africa took pace off the ball at the start of the innings.

When Jos Buttler (7) and Dawid Malan (19) fell, the visitors had slumped to 34/3 in the sixth over.

But Bairstow and Ben Stokes (37) rallied, putting on 85 in 8.4 overs for the fourth wicket to drag England back into the contest.

They still needed 51 from the final four overs, but when Beuran Hendricks conceded 28 runs in his last over, the game swung heavily in their favour.