Chester-le-Street - Jacques Kallis, refreshed by his ODI break, led the Proteas Blue Label squad, to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over England in their opening T20 International match at Chester-le-Street on Saturday.
The result strengthens the Proteas No. 1 T20 ranking ahead of second-placed England.
The Proteas produced a magnificent bowling and fielding performance to restrict England to 118/7 in their innings after AB de Villiers had won the toss.
The key period was in the middle overs when the Proteas took five wickets for 51 runs in eight overs. England, in fact, went 9 overs without hitting a boundary.
Johan Botha, another returning Protea, and Robin Peterson both took two wickets at minimal cost and this will be highly encouraging for the Proteas as they prepare for the ICC World Twenty20 in spin friendly Sri Lanka.
Kallis belied his years with a direct hit run out to claim the first England wicket and then took a superb diving catch in the deep.
The Proteas lost three quick wickets in their reply but Kallis had what looked like little more than a middle practice as he hit 48 not out off 44 balls in a South African record fourth wicket T20 International partnership against England.
His partner, JP Duminy, continued the impressive form he has shown throughout the tour to finish on 47 not out off 54 balls. He has certainly been one of the most improved Proteas players on this tour, making substantial contributions in all three formats.
The second T20 International takes place at Old Trafford, Manchester, on Monday.