There’s something about this South African side. There is something building there. A certain grit, a certain winning quality. It’s good to see given their travails so far, and having won the opening Test and ODI of their series against England, they’ve now won the first T20I of the series as well.
What was impressive about that victory was how unlikely it seemed at a certain point. More specifically when Jason Roy was going all guns blazing, and fans were minded to switch off their TVs given how inevitable another England victory seemed.
However, a magnificent burst from Lungi Ngidi, and indeed the whole team, helped South Africa come out on top in a thriller, albeit by a one-run margin, and in so doing, led the series by 1-0 and have a chance to wrap up a much-needed series win.
They showed all the signs that the new South Africa management would have wanted to see. Perseverance in the times of trouble, and conviction when the chance presented itself. All this against a fine England team, possessing some genuine T20 stars in Roy, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and the lot.
Now the trick is to build on the foundation. It is what South Africa failed to do in the other formats during this series, but if they can do that in the T20Is, during the year of the T20 World Cup, a nation will breathe easier.
Head to head
South Africa have a decent record in T20Is against England. There have been 16 matches between these sides, but South Africa have come out on top on nine occasions, including on Wednesday. Can they make it 10 tomorrow?
Dale Steyn (South Africa): South Africa were buoyed by the return of the Steyn remover. He did fare too badly either, claiming the wicket of Buttler early on, and then being brought in in the middle overs to try and break through. He was also instrumental with a crucial run out late in the day, and all in all, it was a good return. Can he go better?
Jason Roy (England): England would have been celebrating a victory had Roy managed to hang around a bit more on Wednesday. His runs, and more importantly, the quick start he provides are key to the side, and his wicket will be among the most celebrated by South African bowlers tomorrow.
South Africa: Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (c/wk), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Jon-Jon Smuts, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwayne Pretorius, Beuran Hendricks, Dale Steyn, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi
England: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (wk), Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan (c), Joe Denly, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood
England to fight back, make it 1-1.