Marsh, David, Sangha star as Australia rout South Africa

Mitchell Marsh scored his highest T20I runs

As one-sided as this match was, it happened only once in 2023, which hovered over Kingsmead like a dark portent for the hosts. South Africa and Australia rarely play each other. 

After almost five months, they were back in international play, but they looked unprepared with both bat and ball and couldn’t compete with an Australian XI that included four debutantes and a new captain. Australia defeated South Africa by their largest margin ever to take a 1-0 series lead after three games.

Australia’s highest T20I score and sixth-highest in the format was achieved against South Africa thanks in large part to Mitchell Marsh, who took the lead with a career-best 92* off 49 balls.

As South Africa’s opener after Aiden Markram decided to bowl, Marco Jansen persuaded Travis Head to sneak one to Reeza Hendricks at slips. Marsh, on the other hand, chose to tonk every ball he saw as he left. 

The captain tormented Lungi Ngidi in a 20-run second over, which was followed by a brief period of complete mayhem. Disrespectfully, length balls were smashed through and over the leg side, and excessively fuller balls were pushed through the covers.

In Jansen’s subsequent over, Matthew Short joined in the fun by hitting six, four, and four to begin yet another pricey over. In addition, as Australia passed the 50-run threshold in the fourth over, Marsh was harsh on debutant Gerald Coetzee. 

A powerful drive from Short only made it as far as Hendricks at deep mid-wicket in the fifth over. Short and Marsh were both swatting away the length balls, but Lizaad Willaims, another debutant, persisted and got the reward. 

The PowerPlay had it all, including a first wicket when Coetzee delivered a masterfully disguised slower yorker to dismiss Josh Inglis and dismiss five other dots. With 70 runs scored, Australia still managed to escape the PowerPlay.

Marcus Stoinis became the fourth batter to walk off, giving South Africa the impression that they had put the breaks on as they continued to pick out batters. 

But that brought David to the middle, where he and his captain put together an amazing 97-run partnership off only 50 deliveries. Marsh got off to a fast start, but David dominated that partnership, reaching his half-century in just 24 balls. 

He smashed three of his four sixes against Tabraiz Shamsi because he took a liking to the leggie. He again played brutally against Coetzee, finishing with a 28-ball 64. In the 16th over, Temba Bavuma made a stunning catch at long off that allowed Shamsi to eventually get him out.

In the meantime, Marsh sped to his quickest T20I fifty – off 22 balls – and continued the innings with the same panache he started it with. Aaron Hardie, who scored 23 off 14 balls, was with him till the last over. Marsh continued to bat until the very last ball, scoring an undefeated 92 off 49 balls with 13 fours and 2 sixes.

When Temba Bavuma played a ball from Stoinis in the first over, the home team also lost an early wicket, similar to Australia. Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen, two batsmen for South Africa, were similar to those for Australia in that they both threw caution to the wind and moved on quickly after losing that wicket. 

South Africa reached 36/1 in four overs thanks to the second-wicket combination, but Sean Abbott broke the partnership in the fifth over when he removed Van van Dussen. The loss of captain Aiden Markram, who intercepted a harmless short ball from rookie Tanveer Sangha and hit Stoinis at backward point, significantly hurt the home team.

Dewald Brevis, a young and promising batter, only managed to score five runs, leaving any South Africans who attended Kingsmead anticipating to see a show in for a rude awakening. He struck the spinner hard and flat in an attempt to clear the long-off boundary, but Stoinis did a great job of holding on to the catch, leaving South Africa four down in the ninth over. 

The leg spinner’s flight then defeated Tristan Stubbs, forcing him to leave the crease and defend it on his front foot. The stumping by Josh Inglis was quick, and the square leg umpire sent Stubbs on his way.

The entire top order was seen walking back from the opposite end while Hendricks and Marco Jansen tried to put together a stand, but Sangha stopped them both. After a successful shot through cover, Jansen attempted to slog sweep him but failed. He was going for the fight. Sangha’s fourth wicket came from the twisting delivery that knocked the stumps over.

Following Sangha’s middle-strike damage, Stoinis came back to remove Coetzee and Williams, further bringing South Africa to 109 for 8. Spencer Johnson, who was caught in the deep, dismissed Hendricks after the lone warrior had reached fifty. Johnson then went on to clean up Shamsi. As a result, South Africa lost their innings in the 16th over for just 115 runs, handing Australia a commanding 111-run victory.