Reeza Hendricks has surely now sealed his World Cup place as he and Aiden Markram rallied in a dominant position of the century that saw South Africa score 211/5 in the first T20 against Ireland in Bristol, a score that was safe as houses with ace spinners Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi making their usual scramble down the middle.
After the Proteas opted to strike first and Quinton de Kock (7) escaped in the fourth, Hendricks notched his fourth consecutive half-century, scoring a magnificent pace of 74 from 53 balls, scoring freely across the offside in particular I collected 10 fours and a six.
South Africa were 47/2 on the power play but Hendricks and Markram then combined superbly for a stand of 112 from just 62 balls for the third wicket.
Markram was explosive, blasting a punishing 56 from just 27 deliveries, including five sixes, but he and Hendricks fell on successive deliveries to leg spinner Gareth Delany in the 16e more.
That left South Africa on 158/4 after 16 overs, but Tristan Stubbs showed he had the invaluable finishing gift by scoring a spectacular 24 from just 11 balls, packed with remarkable shots. Dwaine Pretorius also did his job with a dashing 21 from just seven deliveries, with the Proteas scoring 53 runs over the final four overs.
Maharaj, backing up as captain because David Miller had a back spasm, and Shamsi were South Africa’s top two bowlers at the time. Maharaj struck in the eighth and 10e overs to take 2/29 in his four overs, while Shamsi was also excellent at the other end with 1/22 in his first three overs.
Tucker didn’t sit
They put Ireland down to 111/5 after 12 overs but Lorcan Tucker got plenty of fans as he didn’t sit down, hitting a destructive 78 from just 38 balls.
George Dockrell backed him up brilliantly with a 43-from-28 challenge as Ireland regrouped to need 71 from the final six overs.
Shamsi had to get up and throw the 17e more and he claimed the key wicket from Tucker, leading a sweep, and Dockrell fell to Pretorius at the next ball.
Lungi Ngidi threw an effective array of slower balls to the death and conceded just 16 runs in his final two overs, while Pretorius managed just five of 18e more and Wayne Parnell six on the last, limiting Ireland to 190/9 and a 21-point win.