An explosive knock by T20I skipper Rovman Powell and fiery spells from Sheldon Cottrell and Odean Smith spoiled Aiden Markram's debut in the role of South Africa's short format captain as West Indies beat the hosts by three wickets in the first T20I of the three-match series in Centurion on Saturday.
With this win, West Indies is 1-0 up in the T20I series.
Chasing a target of 132 runs in a rain-truncated, 11-over-per-side match, WI lost opener Kyle Mayers for just six runs to Bjorn Fortuin, with assistance from wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock. The visitors were 17/1 at that point in 0.5 overs.
Brandon King was next to go as the ball clipped the top of his leg stump while he attempted to paddle it. The batter scored 23 off eight balls, with two fours and two sixes. Sisanda Magala got the wicket, reducing WI to 34/2 in 2.1 overs.
WI reached the 50-run mark in just 3.1 overs.
Johnson Charles and Nicholas Pooran continued rebuilding the Windies inning and carried the chase forward. They were halfway through the run-chase when Pooran edged the ball straight into the keeper's hands for 16 off seven balls, giving Anrich Nortje his first scalp. WI was 66/3 in 4.2 overs.
Soon, Charles was also dismissed by Tabraiz Shamsi after Nortje took a brilliant catch at the long-on fence, sending back the batter for 28 off 14 balls consisting of a four and three sixes. WI was 76/4 in 5.4 overs.
WI reached the 100-run mark in 7.4 overs.
Powell built a 36-run stand with all-rounder Romario Shepherd, but the latter was run out for just three by Wayne Parnell. Half of the Windies' side was back in the hut for 112 runs in 8.1 overs. Magala dismissed Odean Smith and Akeal Hosein quickly to reduce WI to 120/7 in 9.4 overs.
The Windies skipper held his nerves, continuing to attack from the other end. He scored the winning runs, clinching the match for his side with three balls to go. Rovman finished at 43* off 18 balls, with one four and five sixes, for which he won the 'Player of the Match' award.
Magala was the pick of the bowlers for Proteas, taking 3/21 in his two overs. Nortje, Shamsi and Fortuin got one wicket each.
Earlier, being put to bat first by WI, South Africa scored 131/8 in their 11 overs. Odean and Sheldon joined forces, taking two each while Alzarri Joseph and Shepherd took one to reduce Proteas to 79/6 in 8.3 overs. Reeza Hendricks was the key contributor in the top order, with a knock of 21 runs in 12 balls.
David Miller came through with a clutch inning, scoring 48 off just 22 balls with four boundaries and three sixes. He formed a 47-run stand for the seventh wicket with Magala, who scored 18* in just five balls, with four and two sixes.
Odean (2/27) and Cottrell (2/31) shined with the ball for WI. Akeal, Alzarri and Shepherd got a wicket each.
The second T20I will be played on March 26, with the last T20I taking place on March 28. WI had also tied the ODI series 1-1. The first ODI was washed out due to rain.
Brief Scores: SA: 131/8 (David Miller 48, Reeza Hendricks 21, Odean Smith 2/27) lost to West Indies: 132/7 (Rovman Powell 43*, Johnson Charles 28, Sisanda Magala 3/21). (ANI)