Moin Ali was delighted to claim bragging rights in the England dressing room, setting a new record of being his country’s fastest player out of fifty in Twenty20 cricket.
Oin ended his half century with just 16 balls in the Vitality Series opening match against South Africa, winning at home with 41 runs, breaking his teammate Liam Livingston’s yearly record with a single delivery.
Universal smashed six sixes and two fours in his short but spectacular strike, sharing a 106-point victory stance with Johnny Barstow, who had a career-best 90.
After losing both white ball series to India and an ODI draw against the Proteas, the most important thing for England was the result, but Moen was happy to celebrate his personal achievement as well.
He made the most of the modest size at Bristol’s Seat Unique, which took 29 sixes in 40 overs as England safely defended 234 of six.
“It means a lot, we have guys in our dressing room who score fast and now I can boast of the fastest 50 in T20 cricket for England. I’ll go to the locker room and do it big,” he said with irony.
“It’s something beautiful to be proud of, but I’m sure it will break soon. It was a good size court for someone like me who doesn’t hit the ball as hard as some boys.
“You can make sixes here, you pick the bowlers you like and you go after them. I just looked at a couple balls and then played my shots.”
Moin was ready to share the applause as well, hailing Bairstow for his last exemplary performance in a summer filled with unforgettable performances by the Yorkshireman and praising Chris Jordan’s deadly bowling.
“Johnny is someone I’ve always enjoyed hitting with, he’s pretty busy, strong, powerful, and the way he hit tonight was very interesting. It was great to be on the other end,” he said of Bairstow.
Jordan, meanwhile, showed calm, dropping a meager eight runs along with overs 18 and 20 to turn a potentially close finish into a breeze.
“CJ closed the game for us,” Moin said.
“He is a very, very important player and he has experience all over the world. He’s had a couple of difficult years in the role he’s been given, but this summer he’s been fantastic. We know how good he is, his speed is fast and he’s a fantastic bowler.”
Proteas tailor Lungi Ngidi, who lost despite amassing an outstanding five out of 39 numbers, insisted his team always believed they had a chance. And 21-year-old Tristan Stubbs sniffed them with 28 72s in his first international innings.
“We definitely thought we could catch up with him. In the last five matches, you could chase everything, but we lost too many wickets,” he said.
“We had complete faith in Stubbs, he showed us what he can do in training. I myself played with him and was on the side of what we saw tonight.