|Ireland 143-7 (20 overs): Lewis 52, Paul 47; Sekhukhune 3-32|
|South Africa 133-7 (20 overs): Bosch 29, Tyron 26; Kelly 2-25|
|Ireland won by 10 runs|
An opening partnership of 98 between Gaby Lewis and Leah Paul helped Ireland to a surprise 10-run victory over South Africa in Friday’s T20 opener.
Stand-in skipper Lewis hit 52 from 38 balls in Dublin while Paul added 47 to set a platform for a total of 143-7.
South Africa, ranked seven places above the Irish, struggled in response with Anneke Bosch making a top score of 29.
Arlene Kelly took two wickets on her Ireland debut as the Proteas fell short of the target on 133-7.
Lewis and Paul set the tone for the game with superb batting to put Ireland on course for a memorable victory at Pembroke.
A lacklustre South African attack failed to trouble the pair until Lewis was run out with the score on 98 and Paul quickly followed.
Ireland’s momentum slipped after their departure with Tumi Sekhukhune (3-32) claiming two wickets in as many balls.
The Irish set a solid total before South Africa made the worst possible start in reply as Rachel Delaney dismissed Lara Goodall with the first ball of the innings.
The tourists failed to score from the first nine balls and they never came to grips with the slow pitch, resulting in a sluggish run-rate and always chasing the game.
Kelly caught and bowled opener Tazmin Brits (10) for her first international wicket in an impressive display.
Cara Murray took the key wicket of Laura Wolvaardt (20) as Ireland struck at key times to hold the advantage.
The Irish held their nerve to chalk up the win and the teams will meet again at the same venue on Monday for the second of three T20s.