King, bowlers help WI off to winning start against SA

Brandon King-led West Indies got off to a winning start in the T20I series against South Africa in Kingston, Jamaica, securing a 28-run victory in the first of three T20Is. Despite missing some of their big names in the batting department due to IPL duties, skipper King made up for the absence with a 45-ball 79 that helped them post 175/5. Reeza Hendricks struck a 51-ball 87 but lack of support from the other end meant that South Africa were bowled out for 147. Matthew Forde and Gudakesh Motie bagged three wickets apiece.

Asked to bat, West Indies were off the blocks quickly thanks to King who dealt in regular boundaries. Johnson Charles, who contributed only 1 in the opening stand worth 36, was dismissed in the fourth over by Ottniel Baartman. But there was no stopping King as he brought up his 10th T20I fifty, off only 26 deliveries, to power West Indies to 64/1 in the powerplay. The captain struck six maximums during his stay while Kyle Mayers also cleared the fence regularly as West Indies crossed the 100-run mark in the 10th over.

But West Indies lost regular wickets in the second half of their innings, with Andile Phehlukwayo (3-28) doing the bulk of the damage, as they slipped to 137/5 in the 15th over. Roston Chase scored a useful 32 not out but he took 30 deliveries for those runs as South Africa kept West Indies in check in the death overs with wickets, with only 32 coming off the last five. Baartman finished with 3-26.

South Africa lost Quinton de Kock and Ryan Rickelton early in the chase, with Forde and Chase delivering key strikes. Matthew Breetzke struck three fours in an over off Akeal Hosein followed by a boundary off Shamar Joseph but the pacer trapped him in front for 19, with South Africa at 46/3 at the end of the powerplay. Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen tried to build a partnership but South Africa had a lot of work to do, having reached 77/3 after 10 overs.

Already having an upper hand in the contest, West Indies gained further advantage thanks to a double-wicket over from Motie, who dismissed van der Dussen and Wiaan Mulder in the 11th. Hendricks brought up a fighting 32-ball fifty but wickets fell around him as Motie finished with 3-25 while Obed McCoy picked up two wickets to reduce South Africa to 108/8. Hendricks tried to keep the fight going but with 39 needed off the final over, South Africa were well behind and Forde helped himself to a couple of wickets to finish with 3-27.

Brief scores: West Indies 175/8 in 20 overs (Brandon King 79, Kyle Mayers 34; Ottniel Baartman 3-26, Andile Phehlukwayo 3-28) beat South Africa 147 in 19.5 overs (Reeza Hendricks 87; Gudakesh Motie 3-25, Matthew Forde 3-27) by 28 runs.

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