South Africa vs Australia, second T20I in Port Elizabeth (23:30 EDT) – Watch the Australia South Africa tour LIVE on Fox Cricket!
Australia had the opportunity on Sunday (11:30 PM EDT) to make fun of its daunting return to South Africa by claiming a T20 streak win.
After embarrassing the Proteas in the first game in Johannesburg with 107 races, Australia will now win the three-game series with the victory in Port Elizabeth.
South Africa won the draw and chose to beat first. Australia remains unchanged while SA has added Reeza Hendricks, Dwaine Pretorius and Anrich Nortje to Adile Phehlukhwayo, Dale Steyn and JJ Smuts.
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South Africa: Quinton de Kock (c, wk.), Reeza Hendricks, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, Dale Miller, Pite van Biljon, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey (week), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa
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The overwhelming defeat of the Proteas at the notorious arena saw South Africa roasted by its own media in the accumulation of a “pitiful” and “poorly disciplined” performance that saw Australia Ashton Agar claim a hat-trick and a five-wicket shot.
Now South Africa has to win consecutive games or flirt with 12 full months since a streak wins in any format (against Sri Lanka in March 2019).
The Proteas fought in a transition period that saw Quinton de Kock become captain of all formats after Faf du Plessis stepped aside before the series began.
By comparison, Australia is spoiled for leadership wealth now that both David Warner and Steve Smith are back in the fold and shooting – Smith scored the highest score in the first game with 45 32-ball runs.
The return of Smith and Warner, which boasts a total of 465 international and national T20 caps, has only helped the development of younger players like Alex Carey, who has long been considered a future national captain.
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“I’m trying to learn as much as possible from those kids,” Carey said before the game at St. George’s Park. “They played so much cricket at the highest levels, they did so well and they captained their country and captained IPL teams.
“I talk to them when I’m beating, I talk to them on the pitch after the game. There is no better boy to learn than those three.”
Much credit for Australia’s recent T20 form went to coach Justin Langer, who led the Perth Scorchers to three BBL titles and sought to establish more clearly defined roles within the national team.
But Aaron Finch’s captain, widely regarded as a tactical mind, was also key.
“Seeing his aggression with his fields, having a bat block in there in Twenty20 cricket … he’s not afraid to try different things,” Carey said. “He is driving with the bat, he has beaten the ball in T20 cricket for the past two years.
“His tactical mind is getting better every time he plays for Australia.”
The last game of the T20 series is Thursday morning (3:00 EDT).
That game will see Smith and Warner return to Cape Town for the first time since the 2018 ball tampering scandal that plunged the Australian cricket team into chaos.
The series is then followed by another against South Africa: a three-game ODI series.