The 1st T20I between England and South Africa at Bristol was a crowd entertainer, with 427 runs scored in the evening. The highlights of the day were blistering innings from Tristan Stubbs, Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow, but the deciding factor was SA’s sloppy fielding. In such high-scoring games, the bowlers are often forgotten, but Lungi Ngidi had a brilliant day amidst the chaos his bowling partners were going through. He picked up his career-best figures of 5/39, but that was heavily compensated by the other SA bowlers. We look at a few stats and key events from the run-fest where England won by a huge margin of 41 runs.
Jason Roy – Unable to catch a break
Jason Roy is having a wretched form this year in T20I. On a day where all English batters scored at a strike rate of at least 169 (min. five balls), Roy faced 15 balls for his eight runs, scraping at 53.33.
The inning was an extension of his T20I form in 2022. This year has been his worst since 2015 in terms of his average and strike rate. In this game, Roy failed to hit a single boundary and only had a 50% control percentage. Time might be running out for the flamboyant Surrey opener if he continues his poor form.
Shamsi’s ‘short’ horror show
Tabraiz Shamsi had an evening to forget. He conceded 49 runs from just his three overs at 16.33 runs per over. Of the 20 Sixes that England hit, Shamsi conceded five. It was a case of Bristol’s dimensions spooking the chinaman bowler.
The ground had shorter straight boundaries and longer square boundaries. To avoid being hit straight down the ground, Shamsi erred a lot on the shorter side. Shamsi bowled six balls on the short length, three on the short of good length and four on the good length. Bowling so short gave enough time to English batters to rock back and pull him square off the wicket despite the longer boundaries.
Jordan’s death overs masterclass
With figures of 5/39, one would think Ngidi was the best bowler of the day. Chris Jordan turned out to be the most impactful bowler, especially due to the 18th over of the inning.
South Africa weren’t completely out of the chase till the 18th over, needing 54 off 18 balls. Jordan came to bowl his third over and ended the chase with a 3-run over. What would please Jordan and England the most would be his execution of yorkers under pressure. Jordan attempted six yorkers and ended up nailing all of them. In addition to that length, his pace variation made it almost impossible for the batters to line him up.
To keep SA alive, Stubbs smashed a belligerent 72 runs from just 28 balls at a strike rate of 257.14 in his maiden international innings. His 19-ball 50 became the second fastest T20 50 for South Africa. Bairstow, who lived a life most cats would be proud of, scored 90 off 53 balls but was dropped four times. Moeen Ali, who was primarily sent to keep the left-right combination going, ended up smashing the fastest T20I fifty for England from just 16 balls.
If the series opener is a sign of things to come, the cricket (read: batting) lovers are in for an entertaining series of T20I cricket.