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Ken Borland

Stubbs passing his exam only positive for Proteas

Posted on September 06, 2022 by Ken

Tristan Stubbs passing his exam with flying colours in his first innings for the Proteas was about the only positive for South Africa as they were hammered by 41 runs by England in the first T20 in Bristol on Wednesday night.

The Proteas, thanks to gifting England’s batsmen half-a-dozen lives in the field and the lack of a sixth bowler, were chasing an unlikely 235 for victory, but Stubbs provided some cheer as he announced himself on the international stage with a great innings of 72 off just 28 balls, lifting South Africa to 193/8.

The quality of Stubbs’s ball-striking was phenomenal as he clobbered eight sixes, but as impressive was his temperament and shot-selection, each of his boundaries being thought out in advance and clinically executed. While the 21-year-old was playing his third match for the Proteas, it was his debut innings and what an impression he made, needing just 19 balls to reach his half-century. Seldon has a player made such an impact in so quick a time.

South Africa went into the match with almost a second-string outfit, resting Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen and Anrich Nortje after the ODIs, while Temba Bavuma is also out injured.

The omission of Markram was particularly strange as it left the Proteas with only five bowlers. England took full advantage as an out-of-sorts Tabraiz Shamsi and Andile Phehlukwayo were smashed for 112 runs in their seven overs.

In contrast, Lungi Ngidi (5-39), Kagiso Rabada (4-0-30-0) and Keshav Maharaj (4-0-31-0) were outstanding.

Dawid Malan set the tone with 43 off 23 balls, and Moeen Ali produced a phenomenal cameo of 52 off 18 deliveries, but the star of the show was Jonny Bairstow, very much the flavour of the summer in England.

Although he was dropped five times, Bairstow’s 90 off 53 balls was a mighty, matchwinning effort.

The Proteas were obviously shellshocked and the loss of both Quinton de Kock (2) and Rilee Rossouw (4) in the second over, bowled by Reece Topley, was surely the end of their chances.

Reeza Hendricks was the most free-scoring of the top-order, thumbing his nose at those critics of his strike-rate with a brilliant 57 off 33 balls.

But the spin of Adil Rashid and Moeen claimed the wickets of Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen (20) and David Miller (8), leaving Stubbs to make the bravest of statements in a losing cause.

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