South Africa pulled off the highest successful run chase in Twenty20 international cricket yesterday to beat the West Indies by six wickets at Centurion on an afternoon of blistering assault on the ball as well as the record books.
Opener Quinton de Kock hit a first T20 century as South Africa scored 259-4 after being set an imposing target of 13 runs per over to win the match.
Johnson Charles had led the West Indies to 258-5, a new record T20 total at the Pretoria test venue, after they had been put into bat and amassed a formidable total.
The 34-year-old from St Lucia set a West Indies record for the quickest century, achieved off 39 balls, eight fewer than Chris Gayle’s previous best mark.
Charles scored 118 off 46 balls before being bowled by Marco Jansen, South Africa’s best bowler with 3-52. He hit 11 sixes – half of the West Indies total for the innings – which equalled the record 22 in an innings set by Afghanistan’s against Ireland three years ago.
Charles was ably supported by Kyle Mayers (51) in a 135-run second-wicket partnership followed by an unbeaten 41 from Romario Shepherd. South Africa began at blistering pace in reply and by scoring 150 without loss off the first 10 overs set another T20 record.
De Kock took 43 balls to reach his century but departed straight after to end a 152-run opening partnership with Reeza Hendricks, who made 68 off 28 balls.
“I said to Reeza afterwards we did something special out there. I’ve been looking for a T20 century for a while and to do it at my home ground was something special,” said De Kock.
“Playing at Centurion, we know we can get a lot of runs here. The ball travels here quite a bit. We knew we could catch up here and especially with the nature of the wicket. It was quite a road out there. (On making his first T20I century) It’s quite special. I’ve been searching for it for quite awhile. We haven’t played much T20Is here and when we do I seem to be given off so to be able to do it here was quite special.”
The pair succeeded in reducing the required run rate, allowing captain Aiden Markram (38 not out) to steer his side home to a remarkable win with seven balls remaining.
“It was a pretty crazy game. When we came out to bowl we thought we had done enough. They applied the pressure from ball one and we didn’t respond,” West Indies captain Rovman Powell said.
“Credit to Quinton De Kock and Reeza Hendricks. They applied pressure from ball one. We told him (Johnson Charles) to go hard from ball one and he did that today. The guys are going in the right direction. It’s just to take the things we did well today and take it into the third T20I. This is the seventh game I’ve been on the T20 circuit that we scored 240 or 250 runs and we lost so I’m quite used to it now. The fast bowlers, it was not their day today so we tried to take pace off. It only get spicier and nicer for the fans. The fans have been good so it’s good entertainment for them today.”
The batter-friendly pitch delivered a total of 35 sixes and 46 fours in a run feast for an enthusiastic crowd, producing 517 runs for the highest aggregate in a T20 international.
South Africa captain Aiden Markram: “That was a great game to be a part of all in all. I think both teams can appreciate it. We witnessed two really good knocks today and I hope its remembered for their sake. We knew we were a little bit off the boil with the ball and the margin for error is tiny and it showed again today.”
He added: “Sometimes you just have to laugh it off. We still have a great bowling unit. To be honest it was a bit more vibey than I expected. Some of the guys said they were 15 short. The guys always believed that if a couple guys get in like Quinny and Reeza did, it was gonna come down close to the end so I think a lot of the credit has to go to the two of them getting us off to such a great start and making the rest of the chase a bit more comfortable. He (Reeza Hendricks) does it his own way. We talk about playing an attacking brand of cricket, but he also showed that doesn’t mean that you have to slog. Reeza once again proved today the type of player he is. He’s all class and times the ball beautifully. It’s great to be able to take a series down to the last game. Building up to World Cups and things like that, you want to play in must-win games so it’ll be exciting come Tuesday night.”
South Africa tied the three-match T20 series with the final game at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
West Indies won the first match by three wickets on Saturday.

West Indies 258-5 in 20 overs (J. Charles 118, K. Mayers 51, R. Shepherd 41 not out; M. Jansen 3-52, W. Parnell 2-43) v South Africa 259-4 in 18.5 overs (Q. de Kock 100, R. Hendricks 68, A. Markram 38 not out)
Result: South Africa won by six wickets
Series: The three-match series is tied 1-1
Toss: South Africa
Next match: March 28, Johannesburg
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