A brilliant bowling display towards the back end of the Australian run-chase handed the Proteas a narrow 12-run victory in Port Elizabeth on Sunday as they levelled the three-match series, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
The Proteas batted first after Quinton de Kock won the toss at the start of play and despite a blistering start, they could only post 158-4 in their 20 overs.
As has been the case so often this summer, De Kock starred with the bat and finished as the team’s highest scorer with 70 off 47 deliveries.
Tight bowling by the visitors restricted the Proteas to post a big total towards the end of their innings.
David Warner and Aaron Finch also made a solid start before Lungi Ngidi removed the captain by knocking his stumps out the ground for 14.
Warner moved to his half century and alongside Steve Smith took the visitors’ score past the 100-run mark. Needing a way back into the contest Dwaine Pretorius struck by removing Smith for 29.
Ngidi returned and picked up his second wicket of the match by clean bowling Alex Carey for 14 leaving Australia requiring 32 from the final four overs.
Mitchell Marsh became the fast bowler’s third scalp after a brilliant combination of fielding skills by Faf du Plessis and David Miller saw him caught on the boundary for 6.
Kagiso Rabada then took the wicket of Matthew Wade for a duck in the following over with an easy caught-and-bowled after the wicketkeeper failed to pick up the cutter as the pressure began to build on Australia.
Australia needed 17 off the final over with Warner still at the crease as De Kock handed the responsibility to Anrich Nortje for the final six, potentially series-deciding, deliveries.
The hometown hero delivered by knocking over Ashton Agar for one and giving Warner nothing to work with as South Africa closed out a surprising victory.
Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (c; wk), Reeza Hendricks, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, Pite van Biljon, David Miller, 7 Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi.
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.