Watson To The Fore Again As Australia Beat South Africa

Watson To The Fore Again As Australia Beat South Africa
Watson To The Fore Again As Australia Beat South Africa
©REUTERS / Action Images

Australia 147-2 (Watson 70) beat
South Africa 146-5 (Doherty 3-20) by 8 wickets
ICC World Twenty20 2012, Super Eights Group 2, Colombo
Report by Chetan Narula in Colombo

Australia continued their rampant form in the ICC World Twenty20 beating South Africa by eight wickets at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Sunday.

In the first match of the 'rivalry' double-header in Colombo on Sunday, Shane Watson produced a fourth consecutive man-of-the-match performance to send the Australian juggernaut rolling into the semi-finals.

Chasing 146 for victory, Watson and David Warner made a sedate start, as compared to the blitzkrieg they brought about against India in the last game. Warner was bowled by Morne Morkel for just five runs, in the fourth over, and it gave the impression that we might have an intriguing chase on our hands. However, Watson made sure that the Australian middle-order would remain untested as he and Michael Hussey put on 99 runs for the second wicket.

Watson, unlike the previous match, mishit a couple of shots but they never reached the fielders. Except one skier which Wayne Parnell got his hands to, but spilled it at the last moment. Even so, Australia wouldn't have been bothered much for they were chugging along comfortably.

Watson hit two sixes and eight fours in his 47-ball stay at the crease, scoring 70 runs. He was finally out caught in the fourteenth over, but at 147/2, Australia never looked in trouble, needing only 38 more runs off the last six overs.

Hussey then steered them home without much ado, unbeaten on 45 at the end. He scored his runs off 37 balls, stroking two fours and two sixes. Giving him company was Cameron White, a first instance of a number four getting to bat for Australia, who also stayed unbeaten at the end.

He made 21 runs off 13 balls, inclusive of three fours and a lone six, one which finished the match off. Morne Morkel (1-23) and Robin Peterson (1-41) were the wicket-takers.

Earlier, Australia won the toss and put the Proteas in. They brought in Xavier Doherty and the move paid dividends almost instantaneously. In the very first over, he bowled Richard Levi (0) and then two overs later, got Jacques Kallis (6) as well.

South Africa were struggling at 8/2 in the third over as Hashim Amla (17) and JP Duminy added 25 runs for the third wicket. Shane Watson broke their partnership in the sixth over. AB de Villiers did not delay himself further this time and with Duminy added 31 runs for the fourth wicket. When the latter got out, having scored 30 runs, South Africa were 64/4 in the eleventh over. Four overs later they lost AB for just 21 runs, down to 86 for five.

In the dying over then, Ferhaan Behardien (31 off 27 balls, two fours, one six) and Robin Peterson (32 off 19 balls, six fours) came together, using a whole range of switch-hit shots to accelerate the scoring. They put on 60 runs for the sixth wicket in just 29 balls, as the score moved to a respectable 146/5 in 20 overs.

Maybe with their bowling attack, South Africa could have put pressure on the Australian batting line-up. But Watson just thwarted that plan of the opposition, fourth time in a row.

Australia are more or less through to the semi-finals, and will take on Pakistan in their last Super Eight match on Tuesday. South Africa will face India later that evening, both team’s fate dependent on the India versus Pakistan match.   

© Cricket World 2012

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