DHAKA -SA SKIPPER Faf du Plessis scored an unbeaten half century to set up a crushing 52-run win for South Africa over Bangladesh in the first Twenty20 international in Dhaka on Sunday.
Du Plessis helped the visitors recover from a shaky start with an unbeaten 79 off 61 balls, his sixth half-century in Twenty20 internationals, which included eight fours.
Off-spinner JP Duminy (2-11), medium pacer David Wiese (2-12) and fast bowler Kagiso Rabada (2-28) then put in a combined effort to dismiss Bangladesh for 96 runs on a slow wicket at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
Shakib Al Hasan was the only batsman to offer some kind of resistance with 26 off 30 balls while debutante Litton Das made 22 off 33 balls.
Bangladesh lost both their openers for 13 runs but seemed to have recovered when Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim (17) put 37 runs for the second wicket.
The game decisively swung the Proteas’ way when Duminy dismissed Rahim and Sabbir Rahman (4) in his successive overs and left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso removed Nasir Hossain for one as Bangladesh collapsed from 2-50 to 5-57.
Earlier, opting to bat first, South Africa struggled to keep the scoreboard rolling.
Bangladesh started with spinners from both ends and struck almost immediately with left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny dismissing AB de Villiers in the very first over for two.
De Villiers opened the innings for only the second time in his Twenty20 international career and conceded four dots before he picked up Mashrafee Mortaza at cover in the last ball of the over.
Quinton de Kock tried to break the shackle with a six off Nasir over cover but soon became a catch of Das off the same bowler at point for 12.
Sunny returned for his second spell to break a 46-run third wicket partnership between du Plessis and Duminy as Nasir took a well-judged catch at the deep to dismiss the latter for 18.
Du Plessis said he was happy to play the match-winning knock on a difficult wicket.
“It’s a knock that you’d like to play as a batter,” he said after the game. “Not the easiest wicket, not a flat T20 wicket, had to graft a lot.”
“Ball was spinning and staying low, we just needed a partnership, and Rilee (Rossouw) played really well. That was the match-winning partnership,” he said.
Shakib trapped David Miller leg-before for one but du Plessis added 58 runs in an unbroken fifth wicket stand with Rilee Rossouw (31 not out) to take South Africa to a respectable total.
Rossouw faced 21 balls and hit two fours and as many sixes for his cameo.
Sunny finished with 2-19 for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh skipper Mortaza promised to improve their batting in the second match.
“I think (our) batsmen played too many shots, but we can fix it,” he said.
“It’s not too much of a worry the way they are batting. We’ll be back in the next match.”
The second and final match of the two-match series will be held at the same grounds on Tuesday. – AFP