• Aussies look to rekindle Newlands love

    Newlands may hold a few ghosts for Steve Smith and David Warner, but it has been a happy hunting ground for the men from Down Under in Twenty20 Internationals.

    In six T20Is at the venue, Australia have earned five victories, which is one more than the Proteas themselves have managed against all opponents at Newlands.

    You have to go back to the early days of T20Is to come up with an Australian defeat at Newlands, and it was in a match that didn’t involve South Africa.

    During the inaugural T20 World Cup (then known as the World Twenty20), Newlands hosted the fourth match of the tournament with Zimbabwe taking on Australia. That match was not far removed from a time when Australia and New Zealand had donned wigs and fake moustaches for an international game in the shortest format.

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    Australia might have been accused of taking the format and their opponents lightly. They posted a score of 138-9, and even then that score was built on the back of rearguard action. Australia lost their top five batsmen for just 86 and Brad Hodge top-scored with 35 not out.

    Zimbabwe’s wicketkeeper-batsman Brendan Taylor top-scored for his team and his innings of 60 not out would help guide the side to a famous five-wicket victory.

    Australia bounced back from that defeat on their next visit later in the tournament when they gave England a pasting thanks to the explosive batting of Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden.

    On a third visit to Cape Town during the 2007 T20 World Cup Australia handed out a big walloping to Sri Lanka after the islanders slumped to 101 all out, with Stuart Clarke taking 4-20.

    It would be four years before Australia played another T20I at Newlands. The first match of the 2011 series featured four Aussies who are in the current squad – Warner, Smith, Matthew Wade and Pat Cummins. That contest came at a time when the Proteas hadn’t quite found the right balance in T20I cricket. David Miller is the only player in that team who is still serving in the side.

    The first T20I between South Africa and Australia at the venue was close, decided in the final over, though it was Shane Watson’s 52 off 39 balls at the top of the order that was the difference between the two sides. Cummins enjoyed his day, taking 3-25 on T20I debut.

    Australia’s most recent visit to Newlands for a T20I came in 2016, and it was one of the better matches played in the format at the ground.

    Hashim Amla hit 97 not out, falling just short of becoming just the fourth South African to bring up three figures in the hit-‘n-giggle format.

    A 79-run third-wicket partnership between Warner and Smith laid the platform for a successful run chase that was finished off in the final over by Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh.

    Australia have never lost to South Africa at Newlands in the shortest international format, and if they keep that up, they will claim this three-match series.

    Photo: Gallo Images

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