Australia edged out South Africa in a low-scoring World Cup competition as Justin Langer’s men left their woeful T20 form behind thanks to a late burst from Marcus Stoinis.
- South Africa had limped to a total of 118-9 when Aiden Markram (40) scored the all-time high.
- Mark Boucher’s men responded emphatically and reduced Australia to 81-5
- Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade showed their class to stabilize the boat
- Several late Stoinis limits saw Australia at home with four balls to spare
Australia left its terrible T20 form behind to clinch a tense five-wicket victory over South Africa as the Super 12 leg of the World Cup got underway in Abu Dhabi.
Only two balls were left to spare when Marcus Stoinis threw Dwaine Pretorius over the midwicket to mark the limit of victory, although at 81 for five in 16 for a modest 119, the Australians were in danger of messing up their lines at a slow surface.
But Stoinis knocked out dangerous South African fast pitcher Anrich Nortje by four from the penultimate ball of the 19 and then calmed the nerves with Pretorius straight for another limit from the second pitch of the 20.
Marcus Stoinis shows his joy after scoring the winning runs for Australia in Abu Dhabi
Justin Langer’s men reached the World Cup after five consecutive defeats in the T20 series
He finished 24 undefeated on 16 balls, while goalkeeper Matthew Wade contributed 15, not 10, allowing the Australians to disprove the form that had produced five successive T20 series defeats, including 4-1 hits in the West Indies and Bangladesh.
“The dugout was probably a little more relaxed than I was,” said Australia captain Aaron Finch, who had started the chase with a five-ball duck. Stoinis and Wade stayed calm there. It’s what experience can do. ‘
Previously, Australia sent their three great fast pitchers, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, in a T20 game for the first time, and the move paid off when South Africa limped to 118 of nine in their 20 overs.
Hazlewood went two-for-one in his first two overs, while Cummins finished with a measly one-for-17 of his four.
Josh Hazlewood was named Man of the Match after taking two wickets for 19 races in the United Arab Emirates.
Anrich Nortje impressed with the ball for Mark Boucher’s team, but his display was to no avail
Aiden Markram made 40, but no one else made it to 20. As Captain Temba Bavuma put it: “That definitely didn’t go according to plan.”
No team had ever won a T20 World Cup match defending just 119, but South Africa did well.
After Nortje eliminated Finch, Kagiso Rabada got rid of out-of-form David Warner by 14, and it was 81 of five when Markram brilliantly caught Steve Smith deep, and Tabraiz Shamsi threw Glenn Maxwell into the bowling alley when he missed a work in reverse.
To Australia’s relief, Stoinis and Wade stood their ground. Their next game is against Sri Lanka on Thursday in Dubai, where they will then face England two days later.