Powell and King's fury takes West Indies over the finish line
Victory in a shortened but tense affair in Centurion puts the visitors 1-0 up in three-match series
West Indies 132 for 7 (Powell 43*, Magala 3-21) beat South Africa 131 for 8 (Miller 48, Smith 2-21) by three wickets
Rovman Powell, in his first match as full time West Indies T20I captain, led his team to victory in a short but tense affair in Centurion. After persistent rain delayed the start of the game by two hours and then reduced it to 11 overs a side, West Indies opted to put South Africa in and were mostly sharp in the field but still found themselves chasing a steep target of 132.
Brandon King's eight-ball 23 gave them a good start and Johnson Charles' 14-ball 28 built on that but it was Powell who ensured West Indies got over the line. They needed 46 runs off 24 balls when Powell took 23 runs off Bjorn Fortuin's second over, to bring the required run-rate down to seven an over for the last three overs. He held his nerve when Sisanda Magala took two wickets in two balls at the other end to leave West Indies needing nine off the last over. Fittingly, Powell hit the winning runs with three balls to spare.
West Indies have now won four out of seven T20Is against South Africa in their own backyard and have a 1-0 lead in the three match series.
Hosein strikes upfront; Rossouw and Hendricks hit back
When the match got under way, players on both sides seemed keen to get things going as quickly as possible. Quinton de Kock tried to heave the first ball he faced, from Akeal Hosein, over fine leg but misread the length and top-edged. Sheldon Cottrell was stationed there and took a simple catch. The early dismissal of de Kock didn't keep South Africa down for too long. Rilee Rossouw gave himself three balls to get his eye in and then reverse slapped Hosein past backward point for the first boundary of the innings. He followed up with a shuffle down the pitch for a loft over mid-on but his aggression didn't last long. Rossouw was out in the next over when he tried to hit Cottrell over mid-off and only got as far as Powell. That left it to Reeza Hendricks to take advantage of a three-over Powerplay. He sent the penultimate delivery over deep square leg for six and then swept the final one for six more to take the score to 30 for 2.
Middle overs meltdown
Boundary hitting was top of South Africa's minds, even as the ball seemed to stick in the pitch a touch, and it backfired on them. Aiden Markram tried to clear deep midwicket off Alzarri Joseph, was too early on the stroke and skied it to Charles, who took a good catch. In the next over, Hendricks was premature on the pull and feathered an edge to Nicholas Pooran behind the stumps. And the over after that, Heinrich Klaasen threw his bat at a wide Cottrell delivery and sent to it Charles at backward point. South Africa lost 21 for 3 and boundaries dried up. They did not find the rope once between the fifth and eighth overs.
Miller and Magala finish strongly
David Miller's finishing ability is well known and he delivered on his reputation when he started the ninth over by smashing Romario Shepherd over deep square leg. Miller went on to smoke him through the covers before handing over to Sisanda Magala to face the first ball of the 10th over. Magala swivel-pulled Cottrell for four to start and then took back-to-back sixes off the last two balls, both slower balls. Miller took back the mantle and scored 14 runs off the next three balls he faced before he was caught on the deep midwicket boundary with two balls left in the innings. South Africa scored 60 runs off the last three overs.
King gets cracking; Fortuin strikes back
King got West Indies' chase underway in the best possible way when he hit Fortuin through extra cover for four and over deep midwicket for six. Kyle Mayers then slogged to send Fortuin over long-on - and hit a woman in the crowd unintentionally, but South Africa's left-arm seamer was not about to let his opening over end without a wicket. He held his pace back and had Mayers edging a delivery he tried to hit over point in the air. De Kock took the catch. West Indies finished the first over on 17 for 1 and with King still at the crease. He went on to hit 12 runs off Wayne Parnell's first over, which cost 17 in total, but was bowled by a Magala full toss, when he made too much room to paddle it away. West Indies finished their Powerplay on 46 for 2.
Nortje gets Pooran - twice - and then catches Charles - twice
Anrich Nortje, who recovered from a groin niggle that kept him out of the second Test and the ODIs, was introduced in the fourth over and made an immediate impression. His first ball was full and wide and Pooran crashed it to Magala at extra cover. Magala missed the ODI series after splitting the webbing on his right hand, which he got to the ball but then could not hold on to it. An annoyed Nortje picked up the pace for his next one and Pooran nicked off. For the next over, Nortje went to long-on and was in place when Charles hit a full Tabriz Shamsi ball his way. Nortje took the catch but then realised he was going to step on the boundary cushion, so he parried the ball back into the field, regained his balance and stepped back in to take the catch. A lengthy replay showed Nortje had done everything right and Charles was out for 28.
After showing his intent against spin when he hit a Shamsi googly for six, Powell got stuck into Fortuin and put West Indies in the driving seat. He sent the first ball of the left-armer's second over past long-off for six, then cleared the front leg to hit him down the ground for four and ended the over with successive sixes. Powell had scored 10 runs off seven balls before the over and 33 off 12 after that over and put West Indies in a position from which they should not have lost, and they didn't.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent for South Africa and women's cricket