The Proteas will have to chase 194 to win the third and final T20I against Australia at Newlands in Cape Town, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
Quinton de Kock won the toss earlier on Wednesday and opted to bowl first despite the heat of the past two days drying out the pitch to an extent.
It was a decision that played into the Australians’ hands with their skipper Aaron Finch admitting that they would have batted first in any case.
The openers made a very encouraging start as a result as Finch and David Warner raced to 75-0 at the end of the powerplay.
Poor lengths by the Proteas bowlers presented a few easy scoring opportunities for the pair, of which they took full advantage.
They brought up their 100-run stand in the ninth over before the skipper and Warner reached their half-centuries off only 27 and 3o deliveries, respectively.
Anrich Nortje eventually brought an end to the partnership when Warner top-edged a shorter delivery to David Miller, who took a brilliant catch – gone for 57.
Finch then departed for 55 the very next over when spinner Tabraiz Shamsi trapped him in front.
SHAMSI STRIKES | 123-2
Shamsi sends Finch packing
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) February 26, 2020
Matthew Wade contributed 10 runs to the Australian total before skying a Lungi Ngidi ball, which was also sharply taken by De Kock.
The Proteas bowlers started to dig in by bringing the run rate down and the pressure built on Mitchell Marsh, who looked quite dangerous, when he fell victim to a slower ball by Dwaine Pretorius, slicing it to Shamsi at third man.
Kagiso Rabada knocked Steve Smith over only to have the replay show the fast bowler overstepped the front-foot line. He immediately made up for the error by knocking Alex Carey’s stumps out of the ground three balls later.
Smith, though, struck two valuable sixes in the final over off Nortje to help Australia surpass 190.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (c; wk), Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Pite van Biljon, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Australia: Aaron Finch (wk), David Warner, Steve Smith, Mathew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.
Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix