x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Teenager leads Australia to five-wickets victory over South Africa

Australia were easing to victory, in the first of two Twenty20 matches against South Africa, until a slight quiver gave the hosts a chance.

Teenager Pat Cummins inspired Australia to victory in his international debut as they beat South Africa by five wickets in the first T20 in Cape Town.

The 18 year old quickly returned figures of three for 25, with all three of his wickets coming in the 19th over as South Africa went from 133 for three to 138 for six in the space of four balls, eventually finishing on 146 for seven.

Australia looked like cruising to victory but instead a late wobble gave South Africa hope before Steven Smith wrapped it up with three balls to spare.

South Africa, with Gary Kirsten in charge for the first time, won the toss and elected to bat, but over-aggressiveness cost them in the early going.

Graeme Smith went for a duck off the final ball of the first over, which had produced only two runs for the Proteas, both from wides by T20 debutant Doug Bollinger.

The hosts were then on 10 for two as a direct hit from David Warner ran out Hashim Amla.

South Africa needed Colin Ingram to finally get the scoreboard moving as he began the find the boundary, hitting three fours and one six in his 33 off 26 balls.

JP Duminy carried on his work, and things were looking much better when South Africa made 19 off the 18th over, including two sixes from Duminy.

But they were soon brought back to earth by Cummins, who had Duminy caught by Shane Watson for 67, before David Miller lofted the ball to Warner to go for 20 off the next ball.

Johan Botha sent the hat-trick ball for four, but was out two deliveries later, charging down to a slower ball but edging to Cameron White in the covers.

Robin Peterson was the final wicket, out for six off Watson on the penultimate ball, but they still left Australia needing the highest ever run chase in a T20 at Newlands.

Australia's chances of pulling it off did not immediately look good as Warner went for a duck off the third ball, run out by a superb direct hit from Morne Morkel.

But the Baggy Greens soon recovered, taking 12 runs off the second over as Watson capitalised on a drop by Smith in the slips.

They kept the score moving and ended the powerplay with three straight boundaries by Watson off Rusty Theron to make it to 51 for one off the opening six overs.

Even when Watson went for 52, edging to Miller off Morkel, Australia were well ahead of the run rate on 83 for one from a little over nine overs.

Shaun Marsh soon followed for 25, bowled by Botha, and Australia slowed down while still keeping the target hovering around a run a ball.

They were offering hope to the hosts, though, with Duminy and Botha guilty of costly drops late on.

White went for 28 and when David Hussey fell for 25 moments after launching a mammoth six, Australia were on 141 for five, needing six from the final over.

Matthew Wade lofted the opening delivery dangerously in the air, but it fell short of the charging Botha.

Australia instead claimed the run and after Smith hit Theron for four on the next delivery, Smith wrapped it up with a single through two diving leg-side fielders.