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All-Round Australia Thrash Proteas To Take Series

Mitchell Starc celebrates
Mitchell Starc celebrates bowling Hashim Amla in his second over.
©REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko. Picture Supplied by Action Images

Australia 129-4 (Finch 39, Tahir 2-21) beat
South Africa 128-7 (Starc 2-16) by 6 wickets
Third Twenty20 International, Centurion

Australia showed why some are tipping them as winners of the forthcoming ICC World Twenty20 with a clinical dispatching of South Africa in the final Twenty20 International in Centurion.

Mitchell Starc, Brad Hogg and Glenn Maxwell each took a brace of wickets in a disciplined bowling performance that saw the Proteas held to a below-par 128 for seven from their 20 overs. Quinton de Kock played the only innings of note to comfortably top-score with 41.

Australia then knocked off the runs in just 15 overs to win by six wickets and so seal a 2-0 triumph in the rain-affected three-match series following their win in the hugely truncated second game on Wednesday.

Aaron Finch smacked 39 off 27 balls and shared 43 in less than five overs with opening partner Cameron White to set up the comfortable win. White was eventually caught off Wayne Parnell for 14 off 11 balls, with Finch following suit 24 runs later when he gave Imran Tahir the first of his two wickets. Tahir had been brought into the side at the expense of Kyle Abbott to provide the hosts with another spin option besides JP Duminy and he would be the pick of their bowlers, adding the scalp of Shane Watson to that of Finch to deliver his four overs for figures of two for 21.

However, that wasn’t before Watson had taken Australia close to the winning line with a 28-ball 35 that included two maximums. He and Maxwell advanced the score into three figures during their third-wicket partnership of 38 before falling in quick succession. Maxwell was trapped LBW by Beuran Hendricks for 17, with Watson falling to Tahir in the next over to make it 107 for four.

The win, though, was never in doubt, with skipper George Bailey and Brad Hodge taking their side home by hitting a six apiece during an unbroken fifth-wicket stand worth 22 in 1.5 overs.

Besides Tahir, the South African attack, shorn of the services of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel due to injury, was largely disappointing. Duminy (0-27), Lonwabo Tsotsobe (0-19) and Albie Morkel (0-26) all conceded plenty of runs from their two-over spells, with Parnell (1-15) and Hendricks (1-21) the other wicket-takers.

In contrast, Australia’s bowling performance was exceptional after they had won the toss and asked their hosts to bat. Eventual man of the match Starc took the first wicket by trapping Hashim Amla leg-before in his second over, with regular wickets then falling throughout the innings.

Maxwell dismissed Faf du Plessis (5) and Duminy (13) to make it 44 for three, with the returning AB de Villiers then departing to Hogg for 11. The dangerous David Miller lasted just seven balls and fell via a Bailey catch off Moises Henriques (1-15), with Morkel only starring briefly with a brace of sixes before succumbing to Starc. De Kock’s lone hand had been ended at 41 off 40 balls by a beauty from Hogg that took the edge on its way through to wicket-keeper Brad Haddin.

A mark of how disappointing the South African effort was can perhaps be best summed up the fact that Parnell and Hendricks shared the highest partnership of the innings. They added 25 in the final 3.3 overs to haul their side up to their modest total and ended on 17 off 17 balls and 12 off 11 respectively.

© Cricket World 2014