Australia outlined their World Twenty20 credentials as they chased down South Africa’s target in just 15 overs to win the third and final T20 international by six wickets at Centurion on Friday. Where South Africa had made the pitch appear stodgy and batting seem difficult, Australia proved conditions were not so tricky as Aaron Finch hit 39 from 27 balls and Shane Watson struck two sixes in his 35.
South Africa’s only meaningful contribution with the bat came from Quinton de Kock, whose 41 came at a run a ball as they posted 128-7 in 20 overs. Yet Australia reached 129-4 with five overs to spare to win the three-match series 2-0 ahead of this month’s global tournament in Bangladesh.
“Obviously the conditions in Bangladesh will be difficult, but we’ll take some confidence into the World T20,’’ Australia captain George Bailey said. “We’ve won our last five matches in a row now.’’
South Africa’s innings never gathered momentum after they lost the toss and were asked to bat, as Mitchell Starc trapped Hashim Amla lbw early on and Glenn Maxwell dismissed both Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy. Australia’s 43-year-old spinner Brad Hogg backed that up with the key wickets of AB de Villiers and De Kock, as South Africa limped to 81-6 in the 14th over.
Albie Morkel hit a couple of sixes in his 18, but when he was bowled by Starc it was left to the lower order to try and get the hosts to a reasonable total, which they were unable to do.
“We didn’t play too well at the start and while we rebuilt they kept getting wickets,” South Africa captain Du Plessis said. “It wasn’t a big enough total at Centurion because at night the ball skids on. The dot-ball percentage is something we look at.”
Australia openers Aaron Finch and Cameron White quickly proved how inadequate South Africa’s score was when they hammered 38 in the opening four overs, and although White fell in the next over, Finch continued the assault with Watson.
Finch’s dismissal off the bowling of leg-spinner Imran Tahir slowed the scoring rate momentarily, before Watson and Maxwell took 18 runs off an Albie Morkel over to put the result beyond doubt. Both batsmen fell before the target was achieved, but George Bailey and Brad Hodge hit a six apiece to finish the job in style.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines