Australia beat South Africa in nail-biter to clinch T20 World Cup Super 12 opener

Abu Dhabi

Australia won the T20 World Cup Super 12 opener against South Africa by five wickets at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday in a nail-biting finish.

Australia chased down the total of 119 for the loss of five wickets in the final over with Marcus Stoinis hitting eight off Dwaine Pretorius s final over.

Earlier, Australia’s Josh Hazlewood led an inspired bowling effort that restricted South Africa to 118 for nine in the opening match of the Super 12s at the Twenty20 World Cup on Saturday.

South Africa lost their top three batsmen, including skipper Temba Bavuma, with the score on 23 after being invited to bat first in Abu Dhabi.

Glenn Maxwell, an off spinner who shared the new ball with Starc, bowled Bavuma for 12 and Hazlewood struck twice in his first two overs and finished with figures of 2-19 from his four.

Number four Aiden Markram played a lone hand with his 40 off 36 deliveries before falling to Mitchell Starc.

Markram kept losing partners with Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller departing for 13 and 16. Leg spinner Adam Zampa struck twice in one over and a big mid-pitch mix up led to Keshav Maharaj being run out for nought.

Kagiso Rabada hit a an unbeaten cameo of 20 off 23 balls to take the Proteas past 100 and give the team attack something to bowl at.

The Aussies will be searching for their first title in T20 s showpiece event and Finch banks on experience for a good showing.

“Looks like a good wicket, can t see things changing a lot during the course of the game,” Finch said at the toss.

“We have a lot of experience in the side, we haven t played as a group, but we re looking forward to this tournament.”

South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma said they are confident of putting up a strong performance in the tournament.

“It s been a privilege to lead the team in the tournament, big responsibility and looking forward to it,” said Bavuma.

“We are coming off with some real momentum, not worried about any favourites tag, but we have to stay true to expectations.

“We have confidence in our team and we ll look to do well.” Teams Australia: Aaron Finch (capt), David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood South Africa: Temba Bavuma (capt), Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi.—AFP

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