Dawid Malan became England’s top-scoring Twenty20 international debutant before Dane Paterson led South Africa’s recovery at Cardiff on Sunday.
With the three-match series all square at 1-1, England captain Eoin Morgan took the controversial decision to drop himself, with his place going to Malan.
And fellow Middlesex left-hander Malan responded by making 78 in England’s total of 181 for eight.
Malan’s impressive 44-ball innings featuring 12 fours and two sixes, surpassed the 46 made by Paul Collingwood in England’s first match at this level – a 100-run win over Australia at Southampton in 2005.
Alex Hales and Malan shared a second-wicket stand of 105 in 10.3 overs.
But from 166 for three, England lost their next five wickets for only 14 runs.
Paterson, who was twice on a hat-trick, led South Africa’s attack with four for 32.
South Africa should have had a wicket third ball after skipper AB de Villiers won the toss.
England had yet to score a run when Jason Roy skyed Chris Morris towards square leg.
Wicket-keeper Mangaliso Mosehle set off in pursuit of the steepling chance but, despite getting both gloves to the ball, could not cling on as he dived.
Fortunately for the Proteas, it was not an expensive miss with Roy in the next over when, trying to ‘ramp’ a Morne Morkel delivery that was too close to him, he gave Mosehle a much simpler catch.
His exit brought in Malan. Born in London but brought up in South Africa, Malan got off the mark in style by pulling Morris for six over mid-wicket.
Malan kept the runs coming, the 29-year-old driving fast bowler Morkel straight back over his head for a six that soared out of the ground and into the River Taff.
The stand was broken when Hales (36) holed out to deep midwicket where David Miller took a good catch and Malan fell soon afterwards caught at long-on off Tahir.
England’s innings then petered out and the visitors looked set 182 to win.
England won by 19 runs after South Africa scored 162/7. — AFP