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Australia level the series in thrilling last-ball finish after Maxwell, Warner blitz

Australia level the series in thrilling last-ball finish after Maxwell, Warner blitz
David Warner's 77 came off just 40 deliveries.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Australia 205-5 (Warner 77) beat
South Africa 204-7 (du Plessis 79) by five wickets
Second Twenty20 International in Johannesburg

David Warner and Glenn Maxwell posted record 161-run stand for the fourth wicket as Australia chased down a target of 205 runs to level the three-match series by sealing a five-wicket win in a thrilling last ball finish in the second Twenty20 International in Johannesburg.

Earlier in the day, a blazing 41-ball knock of 79 runs from Faf du Plessis helped South Africa post a total of 204 for seven.

Australia won the toss and opted to field first. After playing a nine-ball cameo, AB de Villiers (13) was bowled by John Hastings (2-42) in the second over.

A 62-run stand between Quinton de Kock (44) and du Plessis (79) kept the momentum going. De Kock took Josh Hazlewood (0-50) apart for two fours and a six as South Africa raced away to 62 for one in the powerplay.

De Kock hit three more fours before a ball from James Faulkner (3-28) breached his defences in the eighth over.

Two overs later, JP Duminy (14) holed out to deep mid-wicket off Mitchell Marsh (1-28). Australia wrested a bit of control back conceding just 19 runs between overs 12 and 14.

However, South Africa stormed right ahead as David Miller (33) plundered Ashton Agar (1-25) for two sixes and a four before being caught at long off in the same over.

Australia conceded just two more boundaries and a six between overs 16 and 19, restricting South Africa to 178 for six.

All hell broke loose in the final over as du Plessis scored two fours and two sixes in four balls before being caught at deep mid-wicket.

David Wiese (10 not out) provided the perfect finish by dispatching Hastings for a six off the final ball to push South Africa’s total to 204 for seven.

A mammoth 26 runs came from the final over. Faulkner was clearly the best bowler with three wickets.

In a chase of 205 runs, Australia lost Aaron Finch (2) in the very first over as Kagiso Rabada (2-25) knocked him over with a perfect yorker.

On his comeback, Dale Steyn (2-32) accounted for both Steven Smith (19) and Shane Watson (9) in his second over, thanks to superlative catches from Rabada and Duminy.

Australia only scored 36 for three in the powerplay. Despite Australia’s poor start, Warner (77) and Maxwell (75) wasted no time in getting their shots away and specifically targeted Wiese (0-58), taking him apart for 32 runs in his first two overs and bringing up a 50 run stand in 25 balls.

The boundaries continued to flow and Wiese had no respite as Maxwell cantered him for two sixes and a four in the 14th over on the way to his 26-ball fifty.

After the 100-run stand, Warner took Imran Tahir (0-47) to the cleaners with two sixes and a four, bringing up a 25-ball fifty in the process.

With five overs left in the game, Australia needed 55 runs to win. Steyn and Chris Morris (1-39) were unable to hit their target areas as Australia brought the equation down to 18 from the last two overs.

After hitting a crucial boundary, Maxwell was caught at deep cover and 11 runs were needed from the final over.

Rabada began the final over by castling Warner but Faulkner (7 not out) and Marsh (2 not out) were able to take Australia home even as the match went down to the final ball.

The five-wicket win helped Australia level the series. Warner was the man of the match for his scintillating knock.

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