England have been slashed to 1/2 to win the one-day series in South Africa after an impressive victory in the rain-affected opener in Bloemfontein.
Jos Buttler’s century helped to power England to 399 for nine – their second-highest total in this format and best ever overseas. It proved enough, despite Quinton de Kock's brilliant career-best 138 not out in reply, for England to finish winners by 39 runs on Duckworth-Lewis after the home chase was ended by a thunderstorm on 250 for five in 33.3 overs.
The second match takes place in Port Elizabeth on Saturday and England are now 11/1 for a 5-0 series whitewash, while South Africa are 31/20 to come from behind to win the series.
Reflecting on the manner of the win, match-winner Buttler said: “This group of players, we've been challenging ourselves and pushing ourselves for a number of months.
“At times, we'll get it wrong and probably be all out for 280 in 40 overs. But this is another great step forward for everyone to start this way in a series overseas against a very good team. It's brilliant, and we'll take this confidence forward.”
South Africa captain AB de Villiers was not too downhearted and blamed himself for getting out for just eight, one of the wickets he felt his side could not afford to lose in support of De Kock.
“We lost a couple of wickets too many, so I think it was advantage England,” he said. “But our run-rate was right up there, and I think we gave them a nice scare and showed them what we're all about as a top seven.”