Reeza Hendricks has surely now sealed his World Cup spot as he and Aiden Markram banded together in a dominating century stand that allowed South Africa to score 211/5 in the first T20 against Ireland in Bristol, a score that was safe as houses with ace spinners Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi doing their usual hustle in the middle overs.
After the Proteas had elected to bat first and Quinton de Kock (7) ran himself out in the fourth over, Hendricks notched his fourth successive half-century, scoring a beautifully-paced 74 off 53 balls, scoring freely through the off-side in particular as he collected 10 fours and a six.
South Africa were 47/2 in the powerplay, but Hendricks and Markram then combined superbly for a stand of 112 off just 62 balls for the third wicket.
Markram was explosive, blasting a punishing 56 off just 27 deliveries, including five sixes, but he and Hendricks fell in successive deliveries to leg-spinner Gareth Delany in the 16th over.
That left South Africa on 158/4 after 16 overs, but Tristan Stubbs showed he has the priceless finishing gift as he scored a spectacular 24 off just 11 balls, filled with remarkable strokes. Dwaine Pretorius also did his job with a dashing 21 not out off only seven deliveries, the Proteas scoring 53 runs in the last four overs.
Maharaj, deputising as captain because David Miller had a back spasm, and Shamsi were then the two best South African bowlers. Maharaj struck in the eighth and 10th overs to take 2/29 in his four overs, while Shamsi was also excellent at the other end with 1/22 in his first three overs.
Tucker did not sit back
They reduced Ireland to 111/5 after 12 overs, but Lorcan Tucker won himself many fans as he did not sit back, lashing a destructive 78 off just 38 balls.
George Dockrell supported him brilliantly with a defiant 43 off 28 as Ireland regrouped to need 71 off the last six overs.
Shamsi had to stand up and bowl the 17th over and he claimed the key wicket of Tucker, top-edging a sweep, and Dockrell fell to Pretorius next ball.
Lungi Ngidi bowled an effective array of slower balls at the death and conceded just 16 runs in his last two overs, while Pretorius went for just five off the 18th over and Wayne Parnell six off the last, restricting Ireland to 190/9 and a 21-run victory.