Michael Hussey did a redemption act after a woeful Test series as he struck an unbeaten half century (53) to lead Australia to a six-wicket victory in the second Twenty20 International against South Africa in Brisbane on Tuesday.
In the match played in the backdrop of Australian opener Matthew Hayden’s retirement,Hussey shared two crucial 50-plus stands — 61 with captain Ricky Ponting for the third wicket and 69 with Cameron White (40) for the unbroken fifth wicket — to guide his side to a comfortable win after South Africa had scored 157 for five largely revolving around J P Duminy’s unbeaten 69.
The home side were off to a shaky start with the two openers gone for 29,but after that the Australians were never in trouble.
Ponting contributed a useful 31-ball 38 and though there was a bit of hiccup when David Hussey was out for 2-ball two,Hussey and White took the home side to 161 for four with seven balls to spare.
The packed 40,000 crowd at the Gabba,who gave a standing ovation to Hayden when he ran a lap of honour during the innings break,later saw a lot of stunning hits in the 69-run stand for the fourth wicket between Hussey and White in just 5.5 overs,though the duo each enjoyed reprieves from the South African fielders.
Hussey,who scored 85 runs from six innings including two ducks in the Test series,faced 33 balls from his unbeaten 53 with three fours and a six while White played a cameo of 18-ball unbeaten 40 which included five fours and one six.
White,who hit four successive fours off Wayne Parnell in the 17th over to virtually seal victory for his side,ended the match in style with a six off Morne Morkel. Australia had won the first Twenty20 match in Melbourne by 52 runs.
Earlier,electing to bat South Africa posted a modest 157 for five with Duminy top-scoring with an unbeaten 69 which he made from 41 balls with the help of seven fours and two towering sixes off James Hopes and Nathan Bracken.
Duminy,who also top-scored with 78 in South Africa’s 52 run loss in Melbourne on Sunday,carried his Test series form to the Twenty20,did not get much support from his fellow batsmen except for opener Hashim Amla (26).
Herschelle Gibbs,returning to international cricket from a rehabilitation following alcohol-related problems,was out of sorts and the first one to go for six off 12 balls.
Amla,who began on a promising note with a six off comeback fast bowler Shuan Tait’s first over,followed suit at 40 for two in the seventh over perishing while trying to pull Ben Hilfenhaus only to hole out to White at short mid-wicket.
Duminy,who came in one down after Gibb’s fall,batted sensibly but South Africa were in trouble at 41 for three in the eighth over as van Jaarsveld fell first-ball duck to David Hussey LBW while attempting a sweep shot.
It was left to Duminy and Mark Boucher to resurrect the Protea innings and the duo shared a fourth wicket stand of 49 runs off 37 balls before the wicketkeeper batsman was out to Hopes for a 19-ball 19 in the 14th over at team score of 90.
From there onwards Duminy took charge hitting a flurry of fours. He picked Tait and Bracken for special treatment and he was well supported by Albie Morkel who hit a 13-ball 19.
For Australia,Hopes took 2 for 29 from his four overs while Bracken,Hilfenhaus and David Hussey took one each. Tait returned wicketless for 37 runs from his four overs.
South Africa made four changes to their squad with Under-19 star Parnell — who made his debut,Amla,Morne Morkel and Neil McKenzie coming into the side at the expense of Jacques Kallis,Makhaya Ntini,Lonwabo Tsotsobe and AB de Villiers. Australia made no changes from the team that won the first match.