Tristan Stubbs scored 72 runs off 28 balls, but it was not enough as South Africa lost the first T20 International against England in Bristol on Wednesday by 41 runs.
Cape Town – South Africa may have been walloped on a postage-stamp size ground in the first T20I by England in Bristol on Wednesday evening, but they may just have unearthed a future superstar in Tristan Stubbs.
The 21-year-old Warriors batter’s growing reputation as clean striker of a cricket ball grew exponentially in the southwest of England. In pursuit of the hosts’ mammoth 234/6, Stubbs played without any fear of failure in what was in actual fact his very first international innings.
He blasted, smashed and boomed an innings of 72 off 28 balls with eight sixes and two fours. Such was the brutality of Stubbs’ onslaught that he only just missed Quinton de Kock’s South African record for the fastest T20I half-century by two balls, but that too could come under threat in the near future.
The beauty of Stubbs is that there is method in the madness. He doesn’t just stand tall and swing his broad willow with gay abandon. He hits the ball long and hard, has quick feet, quicker hands and an uncomplicated method that allows him to generate power both through the off and on side in equal measure.
Moeen Ali was the first to sample Stubbs’ power with the rookie striking three maximums in his first nine balls. It was quite an introduction which kickstarted an exhilarating ride that lasted a further 19 balls that yielded another 48 runs.
Stubbs deservedly received warm applause from the Bristol crowd, who thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment, when he eventually departed in the penultimate over. Unfortunately for South Africa, it was not just the end of Stubbs’ innings but also their resistance.
England’s mammoth total was set up by possibly the most in-form batter in the world at the minute Jonny Bairstow. South Africa were their own worst enemy, though, with the fielders delivering a horrid performance on the night, dropping Bairstow three times enroute to his match-winning 90 of 53 balls (3×4. 8×6).
Bairstow received glorious support from Moeen Ali, who also benefited from a dropped catch, to stroke the fastest England T20I half-century off just 18 balls.
Amidst all the carnage, Lungi Ngidi tried to keep his composure, delivering his slower-balls to good effect to finish with career-best figures of 5/39.
There was also a stylish half-century for Reeza Hendricks (57 off 33 balls) in South Africa’s reply, but ultimately the top-order left too much for young Stubbs to do as mightily well as he tried.
There is no rest up for the players, though, as they head straight to Cardiff for the second T20I at Sophia Gardens on Thursday.
England: 234/6 (Bairstow 90, Moeen 52, Ngidi 5/39)
South Africa: 193/8 (Stubbs 72, Hendricks 57, Gleeson 3/57, Rashid 2/17)
England win by 41 runs, lead series 1-0