Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Starc recorded the most economical figures in a Twenty20 International in Centurion
Australia put up a fantastic all-round performance to breeze past a hapless South Africa by six wickets in the third and final Twenty20 International in Centurion.
This six-wicket win also helped Australia win the series 2-0.
Australia captain George Bailey would have been delighted with his decision to bowl first as South Africa batsman Hashim Amla was given out lbw off the bowling of Mitchell Starc for just two runs.
South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis only made five runs before he was caught by Brad Hogg at mid-off off the bowling of Glenn Maxwell.
Jean Paul (JP) Duminy scored 13 runs before he was caught by Moises Henriques at deep cover off the bowling of Maxwell.
AB de Villiers failed to have an impact as well as he was caught by Brad Hodge at deep square leg off the bowling of Hogg for 11.
David Miller fared no better as he was caught by Bailey at short cover off the bowling of Henriques for only two runs.
Quinton de Kock was the standout performer for South Africa as he smashed 41 runs off 40 balls, which included two boundaries and two sixes, before he was caught behind off the bowling of Hogg.
Albie Morkel made a quickfire 18 before he was clean bowled by Starc.
South Africa eventually finished on 128/7 thanks to Wayne Parnell’s innings of 17 and Beuran Hendrick’s unbeaten knock of 12.
Starc, Maxwell and Hogg picked up two wickets apiece, while Henriques snapped up one.
Chasing 129 to win, Australia got off to a solid start as their opening pair of Aaron Finch and Cameron White amassed a 43-run partnership before White was caught by Imran Tahir at third man off the bowling of Parnell for 14.
Finch ended up making 39 off 27 balls, which included six boundaries, before he was caught by Miller at deep midwicket off the bowling of Tahir.
Maxwell managed to make 17 runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Hendricks.
Shane Watson smashed 35 off 28 deliveries, which included two boundaries and two sixes, before he was caught by du Plessis in the cover region off the bowling of Tahir.
Bailey and Hodge mopped up the rest of the runs to lead Australia to a comfortable six-wicket win.
Tahir was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Parnell and Hendricks snapped up one wicket each.
Du Plessis was extremely disappointed with his team’s performance, and said: “It wasn’t our best performance. Starting with the bat, we didn’t play too well at the start and while we rebuilt they kept getting wickets. Not enough of a total at Centurion at night because the ball skids on. The dot-ball percentage is something we have to look at. We did think it might be a lot tonight because of the slow nature of the surface, but it is something we need to look at.
“[We] Got an opportunity to play some new guys. We’ve got Steyn and Morkel sitting on the sidelines and them coming in will be a big bonus and we’ve done well in the sub-continent as well. So we’re looking forward to the World T20.”
Bailey was pleased to have won the series and ended the tour on a high, and said: “So important to start things off well and I think that’s the best we’ve fielded in a while so far. Starc was coming off a bit of a layoff and we thought he might be a bit rusty, but he certainly wasn’t. The bowlers picked up wickets so that makes the [captaincy] job a lot easier.
“Obviously the conditions in Bangladesh will be difficult, but we’ll take some confidence into the World T20. We’ve won five matches in a row now. We’ve had to share a few T20 trophies in the past so this is special.”
Starc was named Man of the Match for recording to most economical figures in a Twenty20 International in Centurion, and said: “Take wickets at the start and slow down. Two or three down has them under the pump and frees us up. Had my feet up for a while, nice to be back and playing. Ball’s come out okay and nice to win games for Australia. He [Quinton de Kock] was walking at me and the bouncer is never a nice ball. But glad that he’s okay. Both teams have some good things going for the world T20.”
De Kock was named Man of the Series for scoring 82 runs at an average of 82, and said: “[I’m] Feeling confident, working hard on my game. Got lot of time to prepare for the T20 World Cup. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that you actually have a lot more time than you think you do. We’re good, we’re confident. It’s different conditions here than in Bangladesh and we’re looking forward to doing well.”