CAPE TOWN, (Reuters) – Australia were too sharp for rusty South Africa as the touring side won the first Twenty20 international by five wickets with three balls to spare yesterday.
South Africa, playing their first match in seven months, struggled to 146 for seven thanks to JP Duminy’s brilliant 67, but Shane Watson’s 52 off 39 balls laid the platform for a comfortable run chase by the Australians.
Watson’s tremendous driving and ruthless punishment of the short ball brought him six fours and two sixes and he added 82 runs off 54 balls with Shaun Marsh for the second wicket.
Cameron White (28) and David Hussey (25) then added 40 in 5.5 overs to take Australia to the brink of victory.
Duminy’s 67 off 53 balls, including six fours and three sixes, was a fine effort which brought South Africa back into the game after the Australian bowlers had made a very good start.
The left-hander’s innings was his usual mix of classical strokeplay and sweet timing, and Duminy was helped by muscular knocks by Colin Ingram (33) and David Miller (20).
South Africa could have posted an even more testing score but for a superb 19th over from debutant Pat Cummins, who took three wickets and conceded just six runs.
He finished with three for 25 in four overs, receiving good support from Doug Bollinger (4-0-23-1) and the admirable Watson (4-0-26-1).