Jonny Bairstow hit his highest Twenty20 International score as England defeated South Africa by five wickets in the first game of their three-match series.

Faf du Plessis got 58 as South Africa posted a competitive total of 179-6 after England won the toss and elected to bowl at Newlands on Friday.

A successful run chase was looking unlikely for the tourists by the time they fell to 34-3 in the sixth over, but Bairstow scored 86 not out from just 48 balls in a superb innings.

After dropping down to number four in the order, Bairstow hit nine fours and four sixes, sealing victory with four deliveries to spare with a huge maximum.

Ben Stokes (37) provided good support as England took a big step towards winning a third consecutive T20I series against South Africa, who are playing their first international cricket since March.

The second match is in Paarl on Sunday before the series concludes back in Cape Town next Tuesday.

CAPTAIN AND FORMER SKIPPER SET UP PROTEAS

England made a good start with the Proteas only mustering 12 runs from the first three overs.

But a six from captain Quinton de Kock off Jofra Archer (1-28) sparked 38 runs in just two overs to kick-start the South Africa innings and he went on to build a partnership of 77 with former skipper Du Plessis.

Chris Jordan (1-40) ultimately removed De Kock for 30 and then claimed a catch at deep square leg to end the 40-ball innings of Du Plessis.

But by that point South Africa were 110-3 and a platform had been set for Rassie van der Dussen (37) to keep up the pace.

BAIRSTOW BOOSTS ENGLAND

Stokes made an astonishing Test-best 258 in Cape Town in January 2016 and Bairstow also shone in that game, scoring a maiden Test ton.

The duo impressed again by putting on a crucial 85 partnership, but Bairstow still had plenty to do when Stokes holed out to long on off the bowling of Tabraiz Shamsi (1-27).

After Eoin Morgan (12) made a slow start, England suddenly needed 55 from 25 but Bairstow hit six of his side’s eight boundaries from there in an impressive finish.

LINDE AND SAM CURRAN IMPRESS

It was a good T20I debut for South Africa’s George Linde, who hit a quickfire 12 from six balls with the bat before taking 2-20, including the early wicket of Jason Roy (0), plus a key catch to remove Stokes.

While Tom Curran (1-55) struggled, Sam was the pick of the England bowlers, with figures of 3-28 from his four overs and the crucial wicket of Du Plessis.

He later hit a six with the bat in the penultimate over to help settle the tourists’ nerves after Morgan’s dismissal.