Sports Desk: Thunderstorms postponed the start but there was no stopping South Africa claiming a 21-run victory over Australia in a reduced Twenty20 international on the Gold Coast.
After a two-hour rain delay reduced proceedings to a 10-overs-a-side clash, South Africa hit 108 for six before restricting the battling hosts to 87 for seven in the one-off T20 at the Metricon Stadium. It was the sixth loss in eight T20 internationals for Australia and their fourth in a row.
The mercurial Glenn Maxwell could not get Australia over the line despite his best efforts, top scoring with 38. Earlier, he impressed in the field with 14 for one and two catches, including a brilliant juggling effort on the boundary rope to dismiss South Africa’s captain, Faf du Plessis.
Australia began the daunting chase well but lost three wickets in seven balls including the dangerous Chris Lynn (14 off 10 balls), who was clean bowled by the excellent Chris Morris.
First to go was the captain, Aaron Finch, who looked like he was going to enjoy a happy 32nd birthday when he was dropped on five by Andile Phehlukwayo, but two balls later was clean bowled by Lungi Ngidi.
In his first outing on tour, the all-rounder Morris made up for lost time by taking two wickets in three balls to put the Australia in trouble at 27 for three after three overs – and the hosts did not recover.
The Proteas hit the ground running after a rain delay that dumped 18mm on the venue in two hours, rattling along at 43 for one off three overs. But with the hosts cruising Maxwell put on the brakes with his offspin before the seamers Andrew Tye – 18 for two – and Nathan Coulter-Nile – 19 for two – maintained the pressure.
The battling Australian team had hoped to gain winning momentum ahead of a three-game T20 series against India and the summer Tests. They need a morale boost after the the ball-tampering scandal, a scathing review and the one-day series loss to South Africa – and would have fancied their chances at the first international cricket match played on the Gold Coast, having won 11 of their 17 T20s against the Proteas, including five of the past six at home. _Agencies
risingbd/Dhaka/November 17, 2018/AKA