Australia finished their tour to South Africa as they started it as they comprehensively secured a 2-0 series victory over the Proteas in the KFC T20 series.
South Africa had no answer to the ruthless aggression displayed by the Australians, as they will need to go back to the drawing board before the start of the T20 World Cup which starts later this month.
Poor tactical decisions combined with lackluster performances with both bat and ball derailed the South African’s during the series. Only Quinton de Kock showed the necessary aggression and ability to withstand the Australian attack.
South Africa’s first encounter against Australia in the shortened form of the game, came in the second T20 at Kingsmead in Durban.
The rain once again affected proceedings, which at first seemed to follow the first ODI, but thanks to match referee Chris Broad the match got started.
Amid sawdust covering and a slow, wet and slippery outfield the match got underway much to the delight of the crowd who had waited patiently for the action to start.
The match got reduced to 7 overs a side, effectively turning the contest into a “T7” match. Australia won the toss and chose to bowl first, with Nathan Coulter-Nile and Mitchell Starc opening the bowling.
Hashim Amla opened the scoring, but struggled on the damp pitch and fell for 4 runs off the bowling of Coulter-Nile. The innings started slowly with veteran leg spinner Brad Hogg drying up the runs. Australia looked the more settled outfit.
The floodgates eventually opened with De Kock striking a wonderful four and six over the bowler’s head. Faf du Plessis continued that trend in the next over, hitting Dan Christian for a massive six over cover point. The next ball went even further as a majestic pull shot saw the ball go out of the ground.
De Kock and du Plessis went on their merry way for the next 5 overs, as they accumulated a score of 80/1 at the end of South Africa’s innings.
Australia were up next in the slog-fest with their range of dangerous batsmen looking to inflict damage on South Africa’s inexperienced bowlers. Their seemed to lack venom in South Africa’s bowling attack, especially after Lonwabo Tsotsobe got blasted for 21 in his first over.
In the next over Kyle Abbott took the first wicket to thunderous applause from his home crowd. Aaron Finch, who had been in devastating form, went for a loose drive and was easily caught at cover.
For the next few overs it was the David Warner show. The opener, who had tormented the Proteas in the test series, rushed to an eye popping 40 runs off 15 balls with the overall score on 48. South Africa were starting to get desperate and introduced off spinner JP Duminy into the attack.
The man with the golden arm provided the big breakthrough with his first ball, trapping Warner plumb in front after the batsman failed with an audacious reverse sweep. The Australians seemed to struggle at this point as they lost regular wickets.
15 runs were now required from the final over, as Brad Hodge took they strike alongside his partner Brad Haddin. The former hit two massive sixes, as he and Haddin got Australia over the line. The three veteran Brad’s (Hogg, Hodge, Haddin) will be crucial to Australia in the upcoming T20 World Cup in Bangladesh, as their guile and experience of the subcontinent will be a key factor under pressure situations.
As the saying goes, you can’t buy experience.
The 3rd ODI was played at Supersport Park in Centurion, and was the first match in the series that the full 20 overs per side could be played. Australia won the toss for the second time in the series and bowled first. They were in control from the very start as the out of sorts Hashim Amla fell cheaply yet again. Mitchell Starc was the thorn in the Proteas side as he stung the top order with economical figures of 4-16-2. South Africa are struggling in the top order and need a solid start if they have any hope of impressing in the upcoming T20 World Cup. South Africa eventually slumped to 75/5 after brilliant bowling from Hogg kept the wickets tumbling. His delivery to Quinton de Kock was exceptional, as it spun and took the outside edge.
Big hitters David Miller and Albie Morkel also failed with the bat, as the conditions favoured Australia’s seam attack. Morkel managed to hit two sixes before he perished to Starc, with the South African’s eventually scoring 128/7.
The Australians quickly showcased their dominance in chasing the below par total, as Aaron Finch and Cameron White, blasted the South African bowling attack to all parts of the ground. Australia still looked dangerous even without the inform David Warner.
The one highlight in South Africa’s bowling attack was leg spinner Imran Tahir who bagged two wickets. This is promising as the upcoming T20 World Cup takes place on sub continental pitches which will assist the spin bowlers.
The Australians are on a high shining as bright as their yellow kit, while the South Africans are on a hiding to nothing if they continue to play cricket in this fashion. Maybe it was the rain that dampened their spirits? It’s time for the Proteas to put up or shut up. Will they blossom or wilt and perish in the upcoming T20 World Cup?