England batsman Jonny Bairstow played a match-winning knock against South Africa in the first T20I on Friday. Bairstow smashed an unbeaten 86 from 48 balls as England produced a stunning comeback to seal the game with four balls to spare. Bairstow, who is often regarded as the best white-ball opener, came into bat at number four in the first match. The right-handed batsman is now relishing the new role and believes that he can bat anywhere in the order, as long as he has a role in the team.
“I’m really happy with where my game is at. The calmness and composure was really pleasing. Seeing England over the line is important. I want to be playing cricket for England. I don’t mind [where I bat]. As long as I’m contributing and putting in match-winning performances, so be it,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Baistow as saying.
Chasing 180, England got off to the worst possible start as Jason Roy made a walk back in the very first over.
A few minutes later, Lungi Ngidi struck with the first ball of his spell as Jos Buttler departed after scoring a paltry seven runs.
Dawid Malan, who is currently ranked number one, wasn”t able to leave a mark as George Linde removed him in the very next over.
With the score at 34-3, Bairstow and all-rounder Ben Stokes came together, the pair rebuilt the innings as they blasted the ball to all parts to pile the pressure back on South Africa.
“I was really pleased with how I played tonight. It’s a different role to what I’ve played previously, so going out and gaining confidence and contributing to winning the match is what it’s all about,” said Bairstow.
“I was delighted with the pace in which we structured the innings. To win with three or four balls left… I’m really happy,” he added.
England and South Africa will next lock horns in the second T20I on Sunday.
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