Bairstow stars again as England hammer Proteas

Jonny Bairstow made a superb unbeaten half-century as England put their ICC Champions Trophy disappointment behind them with a nine-wicket hammering of South Africa in the first game of the Twenty20 series at the Ageas Bowl.

Hosts England were beaten by eventual winners Pakistan at the semi-final stage of the Champions Trophy, but a new-look T20 team totally outplayed the Proteas on a glorious evening in Southampton.

AB de Villiers made 65 from 58 balls and Farhaan Behardien (64 off 52) scored a maiden T20 international half-century in an unbroken stand of 110, but South Africa could only post 142-3 after Mark Wood took two of three early wickets.

Bairstow (60 not out off 35) and Alex Hales (47no from 38) made it look easy in reply, combining for an unbroken second-wicket partnership of 98 to get England home with 33 balls to spare in the opening game of the three-match series.

David Willey (1-34) set the tone for the night when he cleaned up JJ Smuts with the first ball of the match and Wood (2-36) also needed just the one delivery to get rid of Reeza Hendricks in the second over.

De Villiers looked in good touch when he hit Wood for a couple of glorious boundaries, and David Miller - playing his 50th T20 international - impeccably lifted Willey for six over long-off in an ominous start to his innings.

That was as good as it got for Miller, who was caught behind after he was done for pace by Wood to leave the Proteas in trouble on 32-3.

Debutant Mason Crane (0-24) and fellow-Hampshire spinner Liam Dawson (0-17) bowled with great flight and variety on their home ground to frustrate De Villiers and Behardien.

Behardien had a stroke of luck when Crane misjudged one and the ball sailed over him at deep square-leg, while De Villiers scored at almost a run a ball before slog-sweeping Willey for six to bring up his half-century.

It was Behardien's turn to raise his bat when he dispatched Wood to the midwicket boundary and hit the next ball down the ground for six, and De Villiers also cleared the ropes in the last over from Chris Jordan.

Jason Roy (28 from 14) clubbed some lusty blows as England got off to a flyer, but the opener gave it away when he tried to reverse-swat Andile Phehlukwayo's first ball and was trapped leg before.

But the 50 came up inside five overs, with the powerful Hales smashing Imran Tahir's second delivery into the crowd and Bairstow also hitting the leg-spinner over the ropes on the leg side.

South Africa were poor in the field as Bairstow played shots all around the ground, hitting two sixes and six fours, and the clean-hitting Hales, who was dropped by Behardien, finished just shy of a half-century as England eased to victory.

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