It is not everyday that a batsman scoops the Man of the Match award for scoring just 10 runs in a game but South Africa star David Miller managed to do and the reason was his fielding. Miller’s heroics on the field helped the Proteas beat Pakistan by 6 runs in the first T20I at Newlands on Friday. The loss, nonetheless, ended a nine-match winning streak in T20Is for Pakistan.

In the contest between bat and ball, it was Miller’s fielding which eventually made the difference. His two direct-hit run-outs, including the key wicket of Babar Azam, and a South African record four catches, meant that Pakistan kept losing wickets at crucial junctures.

Skipper Faf du Plessis and Reeza Hendricks starred with the bat for the Proteas, sharing a match-defining 131-run stand to lead South Africa to a big total of 192 for 6. Du Plessis scored 78 off 45 balls while Hendricks smashed 74 off 41 to put the hosts in the driver’s seat. In reply, Pakistan, the best ranked T20I side in the world, put up a good fight but were restricted to 186 for 9.

Asked to bat first, South Africa lost Gihahn Cloete (13) in the fourth over before Du Plessis and Reeza Hendricks cut loose in a partnership spanning 12.1 overs. Du Plessis hit four sixes in total as he smashed his fifty off just 29 balls. On the other hand, Hendricks reached his half-century off 31 deliveries. The partnership ended du Plessis hit one straight at Shoaib Malik at mid-off. Two balls later, Rassie van der Dussen joined his skipper in the hut as South Africa’s innings lost momentum. They lost Hendricks, Chris Morris and David Millar in quick succession but still managed to post a big total.

Du Plessis scored 78 (Credits: CSA)

Pakistan began the chase on a poor note, losing opener Fakhar Zaman (4) on just the fourth ball of the innings. But an 81-run stand between Hussain Talat (40) and Babar Azam (38) turned the game on its head. At the end of the tenth over, Pakistan were well placed at 85 for 1. However, once Talat miscued Shamsi on the drive and Babar was run out by a superb throw from midwicket by Miller, Pakistan’s innings got derailed. Pakistan soon found themselves 5 down for 118 after losing four wickets for 33.

Malik tried his best, scoring 49 but lack of support from other end meant Pakistan fell short by six runs.

Brief Scores:

South Africa 192/6 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 78, Reeza Hendricks 74; Usman Shinwari 3-31, Imad Wasim 1-23) beat Pakistan 186/9 in 20 overs (Shoaib Malik 49, Hussain Talat 40; Tabraiz Shamsi 2-33, Chris Morris 2-39) by 6 runs.