In the opening match of the Super 12 stage of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021, Australia defeated South Africa by five wickets at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Chasing a paltry target of 119, Australia had a dreadful start, losing three wickets for just 38 runs in 7.5 overs.
Then, the experienced duo of Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell took charge and tried to calm things down. The pair went on to add crucial 42-runs for the fourth wicket before Markram took a stunning catch to get rid of Smith (35).
In the very next over, Tabraiz Shamsi cleaned up dangerous Maxwell (18) to bring back Proteas into the game. However, Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade ruined South Africa hopes by adding a match-winning unbeaten stand of 40 runs for the sixth wicket.
Stoinis and Wade remained not out on 24 and 15 to complete the chase in 19.4 overs as Australia won the contest by five wickets.
Earlier, South Africa could only manage to get 118/9 on the board in their allotted 20 overs. Aiden Markram was the only batter who stood up against the top-quality Australian bowling. The right-handed batsman top-scored with 40 off 36 balls, including three fours and a six. Apart from Markram, tailender Kagiso Rabada was the second-best scorer with 19 from 23 deliveries.
For Australia, Josh Hazlewood (2/19), Adam Zampa (2/21) and Mitchell Starc (2/32) were the most effective bowlers with two wickets apiece. Pat Cummins (1/17) and Maxwell (1/24) claimed one scalp each.
Here is how Twitter reacted:
— Damien Fleming (@bowlologist) October 23, 2021
They’ll take it but the main questions still yet to be answered after that performance from the Aussies #T20WorldCup
— Andrew McCormack (@_AMcCormack7) October 23, 2021
Chuffed for Stoinis to finish that. Aus did their best to lose that, but the decision to go batting-heavy has been justified there – 39 (26) from your No.6 and No.7 in a run-a-ball game pretty much the difference. Belting game to kick off the Super 12s. #T20WorldCup
— Ben Jones (@benjonescricket) October 23, 2021
Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade have opened the batting for their respective BBL franchises for several years.
— Nic Savage (@nic_savage1) October 23, 2021
#Australia last 22 T20Is:
— Saj Sadiq (@SajSadiqCricket) October 23, 2021
— Chloe-Amanda Bailey (@ChloeAmandaB) October 23, 2021
— ICC (@ICC) October 23, 2021
One of the many low scoring thrillers we are gonna see in this World Cup. Great start to the Super 12s. Australia win and end South Africa's streak of 7 consecutive wins in T20Is. #T20WorldCup
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) October 23, 2021
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) October 23, 2021
— Brad Hogg (@Brad_Hogg) October 23, 2021
A winning start to the #T20WorldCup!
We take the win over South Africa by five wickets in Abu Dhabi. pic.twitter.com/huHaNEKPfT
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) October 23, 2021