David Miller scored an unbeaten, match-winning fifty as South Africa won the first T20I against Australia by three wickets at Kingsmead on Friday.
Miller smashed 53 from 35 balls, his first fifty and highest score in this format, to win the game for his country. It will give him massive confidence after a lack of opportunities against England and little game time in the middle recently.
South Africa take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for the home side who found themselves in a spot of bother on 95-6.
Miller and David Wiese shared a 23-run partnership before a farcical run-out saw the latter depart for 13. Miller had defended a full delivery but lost sight of the ball which rolled behind him. Wiese immediately called for a run and set off and Miller initially did the same, but realising it was a suicidal run, he changed his mind and returned to his crease with Wiese joining him at the striker’s end.
Chris Morris stuck around long enough for Miller to let loose as their 39-run partnership made the chase towards the end easier.
Needing 45 off 30 balls, Miller took 16 runs off Andrew Tye in the 16th over with two sixes, which left them needing 29 from 24.
There was a nervous moment when Miller top-edged Nathan Coulter-Nile trying to play through the leg-side, but the ball landed safe.
Needing just 10 from the last two overs, Miller and Kyle Abbott, who hit the winning runs with a boundary down the ground, saw their team home with four balls to spare.
The chase got off to a terrible start when AB de Villiers was caught behind off the first ball of the innings, but the lower order came through at the end to clinch the game.
After getting off to a flying start, Australia’s innings crumbled in the space of five overs as they went from 69-1 to 97-5.
Imran Tahir (3-21) and Wiese (2-16) were the standout bowlers for the Proteas after Australia had achieved a run-rate of 1o an over during the first seven overs.
Aaron Finch was the chief destroyer, smashing 40 off 18 balls including hitting 24 runs off JP Duminy’s first over – 6 6 6 4 0 2.
David Warner managed 20 off 11, but he fell to Wiese’s first ball of the innings when he found Duminy at point with a cut shot gone wrong.
Finch was caught on the boundary by Kagiso Rabada to give Tahir his first wicket, which brought Smith to the crease after he pushed himself down the order. Smith struggled and was eventually caught behind off Wiese trying to guide the ball down to third man for a very ineffective six runs from 17 balls.
The dangerous Glenn Maxwell was dropped off his first ball by Quinton de Kock off Tahir, but was caught for 17 trying a big shot but instead hitting the ball high up in the air for Du Plessis to catch.
Mitchell Marsh (35 from 25) stepped up to rescue his team from a difficult position. He helped Australia breach the 150-mark before he faltered in the last over.