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Proteas level series with tense win in Port Elizabeth

Protea go back to set the serial decision maker

The undefeated run in Australia’s nine games in the T20 ended dramatically, a tense defeat in 12 games against South Africa in Port Elizabeth, which cost them the chance to take the world first position for the first time.

The Australian defeat in St George’s Park is the first time in T20 cricket since November 2018 and means that the three game series will be decided in Cape Town early Thursday morning (AEDT).

A win in the 3-0 series would have seen Australia advance ahead of Pakistan to the top of the T20 rankings, but now they need to win in Newlands to avoid slipping behind England and in third place.

The stinging clash on Sunday in front of a hoarse crowd at home, led by the famous brass band from St George’s Park, reached the end of the game, with Australia taking 20 to win from the last two over and opening David Warner (67 not 56 balls) still in the fold.

Warner gave it all // AAP
Warner gave it all // AAP

But a brilliant nineteenth from Kagiso Rabada who produced only three tests and Matthew Wade’s wicket left the Australians with 17 to win since the last time, a task that proved too steep on a heavy field.

Probably the turning point of a dramatic chase came on the penultimate ball of the 17th when Faf du Plessis and David Miller joined for a brilliant catch to the limit to remove Mitchell Marsh for six, the second wicket in a mini collapse of 4- 19 in a crucial phase of the game.

Having previously beaten his beats in an attempt to catch Alex Carey on the rope for a long time, du Plessis took a high ball from Marsh and, while his momentum took him over the border, he threw the ball towards approaching Miller, who he dived forward to call for catch.

Du Plessis had previously made an excellent forward catch to remove Smith after the former captain and vice-captain of Australia added 50 for the second wicket.

Anrich Nortje is pumped after launching the final on // AAP
Anrich Nortje is pumped after launching the final on // AAP

Australian innings, such as South Africa, have slowed considerably in the past 10 overs and tourists have only managed two borders – a four and a six – between Steve Smith’s dismissal for 29 in the 13th and the end of the game.

Except for Smith, no one could go with Warner as the South African pitchers turned the vines as the sun went down, with Tabrazi Shamsi (0-17 by four more) reducing the running speed and Lungi Ngidi (3-41 by four ) who were making great strides.

Super Smith flies to save you to the limit

The South African innings have been highlighted by some brilliant Smith fieldings and by innumerable innings of 70 by skipper Quinton de Kock who have led the Proteas to 59 since their six over opening.

After his team was played at just 89 in the opener, de Kock assured that there would be no reps here as he threw four sixes in his 47-ball innings, including a shot off Mitchell Starc who flew over the western grandstand and off the ground.

Rassie van der Dussen’s vigorous shot also required a change of ball, with his right hand slamming Adam Zampa onto the board on the eastern side of the ground during his innings of 37 26-ball.

Australians crush Proteas in record-breaking victory

But South Africa’s total of 4-158 would have been considerably more if not for several moments of superb athleticism on the field by Smith.

In sixth place, the former skipper intercepted what should have been a de Kock six by jumping backwards over the half-wicket boundary rope and throwing the ball into play, stunning the Proteas batters, who managed to run only a single.

And Smith repeated the dose on the last ball of innings, saving four more runs by taking a ball from Miller as he dived over the rope before putting it back into play.

Those two interventions alone allowed him to save nine secondary races that seemed to be crucial in the final, but the intermediate order of the new Australian look failed to establish a series decision maker.

South Africa XI: Quinton de Kock (ct, wk), Reeza Hendricks, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, David 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.

Australian Qantas tour in South Africa 2020

Australia T20 team: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitch Marsh, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

ODI Australia team: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey (vc), Pat Cummins (vc), Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

First T20: Australia has won 107 runs

According to T20: South Africa has won for 12 runs

Third T20: February 26 in Cape Town. 3 AEDT (February 27), Fox Cricket and Kayo

First ODI: February 29 in Paarl (D / N). 22:00 AEDT, Fox Cricket and Kayo

According to ODI: March 4 in Bloemfontein (D / N). 22:00 AEDT, Fox Cricket and Kayo

Third ODI: March 7 at Potchefstroom. 19:00 AEDT, Fox Cricket and Kayo

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