Head, Abbott, and Stoinis defeat South Africa to give Australia a 3-0 victory
With another dominant effort in Durban, Australia won the T20I series 3-0. South Africa fought from 122 for 6 in the 14th over to establish a competitive target, and they finished off their sixth-highest successful chase in the format, despite dropping four catches in the field throughout their defensive innings.
After losing its first two games, Australia was stabilized by a third-wicket stand of 85 runs between Travis Head and Josh Inglis (on 53 and 55 and 12 and 40, respectively). Inglis was ejected for 42, but Head continued to combine with Marcus Stoinis for 58 points before finishing with 91 to ensure victory.
Despite fielding an experimental XI throughout the series, South Africa will be disappointed with their inability to exert enough pressure to match Australia. This time, their team had two debutants, making a total of four throughout the course of the three games. Donovan Ferreira was the most successful of those and gave their innings weight by scoring 48 runs off 21 balls.
A previous collaboration between Reeza Hendricks and Aiden Markram added 58 runs for the second wicket, while a third-wicket stand between Hendricks and Tristan Stubbs was worth 46 runs, but no other partnership went over 11 runs. Marcus Stoinis’ start was followed up nicely by Sean Abbott, and only Nathan Ellis gave up at more than 10 runs per over.
Stoinis once again had the responsibility of opening the bowling today, and he succeeded. Stoinis’ second ball appeared to stick on a surface that Mitchell Marsh referred to as “tacky” before it kicked up to catch the edge of Temba Bavuma’s dangling bat. Bavuma was sent back for his second first-baller of the series after Head made a wise catch diving forward.
Despite the fact that Stoinis stuck to hard lengths in his second over, newcomer Matthew Breetzke was in no hurry to finish him off. Tim David was the recipient of Breetzke’s attempt to strike Stoinis over mid-on. The third over saw South Africa at 12 for 2.
Ellis ended South Africa’s power play in the second game with a double-wicket maiden, and Abbott replicated the feat in the final game’s 14th over to pin the hosts back. On 25 off 15 balls, Stubbs looked dangerous and attempted to loft a full ball past deep midwicket for a couple runs, but instead lofted it to the fielder positioned there.
Three balls later, Bjorn Fortuin chipped Marsh’s slower ball to short extra cover after Abbott had disguised it. South Africa was in trouble at 122 for 6 at that point after losing three wickets in the span of seven deliveries.
The player who went for the fifth-highest cost at the SA20 auction the previous year concluded the competition with a batting average of 18.22 and three wickets. But he delivered an innings of authority on his debut international outing, proving his value.
Before witnessing wickets fall at the other end, he danced down the track to send Tanveer Sangha over long-on for six of his maiden runs. Ferreira took control of the situation since consolidation was necessary.
After hitting Sangha for six more times, he scored 15 runs off of Stoinis’ last over and 12 runs off of Nathan Ellis. The 92-meter six he hammered over extra cover off Ellis that he smacked with all of his might before striking the pose to enjoy his own work was the shot of his innings.
Before the Australian captain was defeated, South Africa had to wait until the third game, and even then, it happened pretty early in the innings. Marsh made sure that Australia immediately recovered from the first-ball dismissal of Matthew Short by scoring three consecutive home runs off Lizaad Williams’ first over and appearing to be on track to reclaim the lead.
The only part of the bat that made contact with Gerald Coetzee’s effort to cross the midwicket boundary was the toe, which flew high into the air. While South Africa as a whole heaved a sigh of relief, Fortuin nestled under it and took a good catch. In this series, what was Marsh’s average? Just 186, which is shocking.
Less than six months ago, South Africa’s top left-arm spinner tore his Achilles tendon and was predicted to miss the rest of the year. However, he strode to the middle in the 19th over of South Africa’s innings with his team on 176 for 7 in an effort to close out the game strongly.
He scored six by driving the final pitch of the inning over Ellis’ head. Hello again. Of course, the fact that Maharaj was the center of attention when South Africa took the field was not the reason we were all anxious to watch him.
In the powerplay, he made a great stop to prevent Head from scoring a boundary, and he was then asked to bowl. Josh Inglis was down on 12, preventing Maharaj from taking a wicket with his second delivery. That excess ended up costing $20.
Maharaj won’t be pleased with the outcome in terms of figures and outcomes. He is certain to be picked in the ODI World Cup squad on Tuesday, but simply the fact that he entered the field, played some shots, and committed an error made this day successful for him.