Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Australia quell South African fight in low-scoring thriller. South Africa were kept to 118 by Australia after a good bowling outing.
South Africa were kept to 118 by Australia after a good bowling outing.
South Africa waged a hard fight in defence of 119 but Australia got over the line with two balls to spare in the opening game of the Super 12 thanks to a neat finishing job by Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade.
What did the duo do?
The duo joined hands with Australia stumbling and needing 38 off 28 balls. And while both offered tough chances that weren't held, they held their nerves in the tough overs to take Australia over the line. The first of the chances, dipping wide of a sliding Aiden Markram at mid off gave Wade a boundary off Kagiso Rabada. He found another in the same over with a neat lap shot, taking 11 off the 17th over to kickstart the fightback. They also took 10 off Anrich Nortje's 19th over, which included Stoinis picking out a slower one for a crucial boundary. That brought the equation down to 8 off the final over by Dwayne Pretorius, and Stoinis found the boundary with ease twice in the over to help Australia break out of jail.
Why did the chase get so tight?
Because South Africa got most things right with the ball right through their defence. Only four runs came off the first ten balls of the chase bowled by a fiery Rabada and Nortje. It finally resulted in Aaron Finch slashing Nortje down to third man. While David Warner pulled and drove Rabada for boundaries, Bavuma kept the pacer on in the powerplay which resulted in a breakthrough as Warner presented a catch to point. South Africa's spin duo of Tabraiz Shamsi (4-0-23-1) and Keshav Maharaj (4-0-22-1) then combined to restrict Australia through the middle overs. The resultant pressure yielded in the wicket of Mitchell Marsh first, caught at deep midwicket. But while Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell started the recovery, their dismissals in the space of three balls left Australia hurtling. Smith was brilliantly caught at long on while Maxwell missed a reverse sweep against Shamsi leaving Australia in a spot of bother at 81/5, before Wade and Stoinis saw them through.
What happened to South Africa's batting?
A little bit of self-destruction and an inability to reverse massive blows early. They hustled their way through the middle overs with Aiden Markram being the lynchpin with a 36-ball 40. But from the other end, South Africa twice lost wickets in clusters of three that sucked out any surge attempted.
What caused these collapses?
The first one was down to some good bowling predominantly. Temba Bavuma, after being put in to bat, had creamed two boundaries through the cover region in the opening over from Mitchell Starc. But Australia found an inspired way to break through when Glenn Maxwell, coming on to bowl the second over, got one to skid past Bavuma's block. This was followed by a double strike from josh Hazlewood. The pacer first had the in-form Rassie van der Dussen nicking behind off a hard length. A similar length also yielded some luck with Quinton de Kock whose attempted paddle to fine leg, ended up ballooning onto the stumps. At 23/3, South Africa needed a big recovery job.
Why didn't that come?
It was briefly attempted by Markram in the company of Heinrich Klassen, as they added 23 before the latter got a leading edge to backward point off Pat Cummins on 13. Markram also put on a similarly steady 34-run stand with David Miller before Adam Zampa triggered another collapse. The leggie had Miller LBW missing a sweep and two balls later had Dwayne Pretorius nicking behind an attempted cut. Things took a turn for the worse in the next over when a mix-up resulted in Keshav Maharaj getting run out for a duck. From 83/7, Markram found some support through Kagiso Rabada (19 off 23) to drag South Africa past embarrassment to 119.
Brief Scores: South Africa118/9 (Aiden Markram 40; Josh Hazlewood 2-19) lost to Australia121/5 in 19.4 ov (Steven Smith 35; Anrich Nortje 2-21) by 5 wickets