Australians crush South Africa in deciding T20

Cape Town: David Warner has crunched a quickfire half-century and Mitchell Starc took two early wickets to pilot Australia to a 97-run win in the T20 series decider against South Africa.

Mitchell Starc celebrates the dismissal of South African captain Quinton de Kock at Cape Town.Credit:Getty Images

Returning to the scene of their sandpaper ball-tampering scandal, Warner (57 off 37 balls) and Steve Smith (30no off 15) each made key contributions for a retooled Australia after they were sent into bat by Proteas skipper Quinton de Kock. They amassed 5-193 before dismissing the home team for just 96, the lowest international T20 score at Newlands. Starc finished with 3-22, and Ashton Agar 3-16.

Australian spinner Adam Zampa took 2-10 and two difficult catches as South Africa faltered early in their run chase and were bowled out in the 16th over.

Asked if he would have batted first had he had his time over, de Kock said: "I think we would have still rather have chased."

Starc, the man of the match, said: "It's been a good job from all the bowlers through the series. The spinners have been phenomenal. We are doing some good stuff.  We have plenty to build on."

Smith, batting at No.5 after the tourists opted to tweak their middle order, smacked two sixes off the final over in a valuable late cameo.

Steve Smith gets about the runs at Newlands.Credit:AP

Warner earlier combined with Aaron Finch (55) to give an unchanged Australia a dream start. Finch was later named player of the series.

South Africa's bowling and fielding was sharp in Port Elizabeth, where the hosts claimed a thrilling 12-run victory to level the three-match series.

But the energy levels in the field were notably low at Newlands as Warner and Finch raced to 0-75 off the powerplay.

Adam Zampa takes one of his two catches at Newlands, this one helping dismiss Rassie van der Dussen. Credit:Getty Images

Warner guided a six over midwicket to bring up his fifty off 30 balls, falling to Anrich Nortje soon after with a mistimed slog caught on the leg side.

The tourists made the surprise move to send Matthew Wade and Mitch Marsh in at No.3 and No.4 respectively after their strong start.

Wade's lacklustre series continued when he was dismissed for 10, well-caught by a diving de Kock off the bowling of Lungi Ngidi.

Marsh successfully challenged an lbw dismissal but holed out in the deep soon after off the bowling of Dwaine Pretorius.

Smith would have been out for six when he was clean-bowled by a Kagiso Rabada yorker but the Proteas spearhead was called for a front-foot no ball.

A weakened South Africa, who also had several dropped catches, haven't won a series in any format since March 2019.

Australia have now won four straight T20 international series after clean sweeps of India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan last year.

Australia have T20 fixtures in New Zealand and England to come but they look to be in rude health ahead of hosting the World Cup in October.


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