T20 World Cup: Australia leaps ahead to a low-scoring win over South Africa in Super 12 opener

Final Update: 23/10/21 3:02pm

Australia Completes Five Wicket Victory Over South Africa With Two Spare Balls; Aaron Finch’s side stumbled chasing 119, but Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade took him home; Josh Hazlewood and Adam Zampa impressed earlier with the ball

Australia began their bid for an inaugural ICC Men’s T20 World Cup title with a daring five-pitch victory over South Africa in Abu Dhabi with two balls to spare.

Australia, defeated by England in the 2010 final, have been eliminated in the second round of the last two editions of the T20 World Cup and came to this tournament after losing their last five international bilateral T20 series.

They made a winning start at Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Saturday, albeit in a messier way than they would have liked after limiting the Proteas, who have yet to lift the T20 World Cup, to 118-9.

Australia fell to 81-5 in the 16th final of the chase, but Marcus Stoinis (24th versus 16) and Matthew Wade (15th versus 10) shared an unbroken partnership of 40 of 26 deliveries to bring their team home.

That meant South African Aiden Markram’s efforts were in vain: The 27-year-old was the only one of the Proteas hitters to pass 19, as he hit 40 of 36 balls, while also catching outstandingly at length to fire. Steve Smith (35).

Rabada further propelled his side when he picked up the catch in the third man, at Anrich Nortje’s bowling alley, who fired Australia captain Aaron Finch for a five-ball duck and then had David Warner caught in the spot back for 14.

The departure of Mitchell Marsh (11) gave South Africa another boost, but then Smith and Maxwell teamed up to add 42 runs to take Australia to 39 runs before victory with more than five overs to play.

Then there was a twist when Markram’s outstanding long-time jump catch fired Smith before Maxwell (18) was thrown three balls later, becoming Tabraiz Shami’s 50th international T20 wicket.

But Stoinis and Wade went ahead to stabilize things, with the former marking the limit of victory against Dwaine Pretorius in the final.

Group 2 kicks off on Sunday with the heavyweight match between the 2007 winners India and the 2009 champions Pakistan in Dubai, a match you can watch live on Sky Sports Cricket starting at 2.30pm.

The previous match is Group 1 between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh (10:30 AM, Sky Sports Cricket), and both teams made it through the first round last week.

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