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Australia down South Africa in low-scoring match

DUBAI, OCT 23: Australia have defeated South Africa by five wickets in a low-scoring thriller during group one’s opening match of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.  

The Aussies chased down the total of 119 for the loss of five wickets with Marcus Stoinis hitting 10 in the final over, bowled by Dwaine Pretorius.

Australia dominated South Africa after skipper Aaron Finch opted to bowl first. Surprisingly, they dropped left-arm spinner Ashton Agar but it didn’t hamper them as Glenn Maxwell stepped up with his off-spin.

Maxwell rattled stumps of Proteas’ skipper Temba Bavuma in second over of the match. Bavuma (12), who hit two fours off Mitchell Starc’s first over, missed a straighter one.

Josh Hazlewood created further havoc for South Africa by removing in-form Rassie van der Dussen (2). Soon after, wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock (7) was dismissed in an unusual fashion as he tried to scoop Hazlewood’s back-of-a-length delivery, which hit his thigh-pad and bounced back onto the stumps.

South Africa looked to rebuild with Aiden Markram and Heinrich Klaasen but the partnership didn’t last long as Pat Cummins picked his first wicket. Klassen (13) looked to play on the left side but a leading edge took the ball straight to Steve Smith.

Markram tried to bat deep with other batters but Adam Zampa’s double-strike and Keshav Maharaj’s run out troubled his efforts.

Markram played a handy knock of 40 in 36 balls, powered by three fours and a six while Kagiso Rabada chipped in with 23-ball 19 to take Proteas total to 118/9. 

Starc, Hazlewood and Zampa bagged two each for Australia.

In reply, Australia lost their opening pair of Finch (0) and David Warner (14) inside the powerplay. Mitchell Marsh (11) was the next man to walk back as he tried to take on Maharaj, he was caught at the deep mid-wicket by Van der Dussen.

Smith and Maxwell paired up for the fourth wicket to provide some stability to the chase but Proteas made a comeback with two quick dismissals.

Smith connected well for a pull shot but Markram ran and executed a perfect full-stretched dive to complete the catch. The right-hander scored 35 off 34 with the help of three fours. Maxwell fell cheaply as he tried to switch hit Tabraiz Shamsi but missed it completely. He made 18 off 21.

South Africa’s joy of sensing a win was ended by wicketkeeper Matthew Wade and Marcus Stoinis as they took their side home with an unbeaten stand of 40.

Anrich Nortje was pick of the bowlers for South Africa as he bagged figures of 2/21 in four overs.

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