De Kock, bowlers star as SA script turnaround to level series


Captained by Quinton de Kock‘s 70 and some effervescent bowling display, South Africa recorded a 12-run victory at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Sunday to equal the T20I series 1-1.

In fact, for most sections of the game, and particularly the chase, Australia seemed in a relaxed environment. The alarm had begun to set in after the second wicket stand itself when David Warner and Steve Smith were batting, but also when the latter fell, the guests stayed in a stable situation at 98 for 2 in 12.3 overs. Warner was all strength and fiber, destroying the pacers all around the territory. By the time his opening ally Finch befell for a 12-ball 14, Australia had raced away to 48.

It started with Tabraiz Shamsi troubling Smith and Warner with his spin and precision. The number of dot balls moved up and the boundaries were less to appear. As the Australian innings proceeded, the batsmen attempted too arduous for the boundaries, and in turn, kept losing wickets. Lungi Ngidi thumped thrice, at critical moments to break Australia’s impulse. There were also some excellent works on the field by South Africa, but also a regulation catch dropped by Quinton de Kock early on and du Plessis stepping on the boundary ropes after holding a catch.

After a quick start, getting 28 off his first 16 balls, he fought to keep the eloquence of his opportunities going also because, at critical times, he saw himself off the strike. He continued unbeaten but plucked up only 39 runs in his next 40 balls.

In hindsight, maybe yes. After having picked up 59 runs from the powerplay, outdoors losing a wicket, they arranged to sum only 99 in the next 84 balls. It was mainly due to the stingy turn by Ashton Agar in the between overs, and some excellent bowling by Kane Richardson and Cummins in the end. The other batsmen lacked the eloquence and timing with which de Kock was carting the bowlers.

Brief scores: SA 158/4 in 20 overs (de Kock 70, R der Dussen 37; K Richardson 2-21, P Cummins 1-31) beat AUS 146/6 in 20 overs (D Warner 67*, S Smith 29; L Ngidi 3-41, A Nortje 1-24) by 12 runs.

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