Australia levels T20 series with 7-wicket win
Melbourne, Australia: Australia's bowlers choked the run flow to restrict South Africa to 101-7 and Aaron Finch took care of the rest, carrying his bat in an unbeaten 44 to guide the hosts to a series-leveling seven-wicket win in the second Twenty20 on Friday.
South Africa won the toss but lost a wicket on the second ball, Quinton De Kock dismissed by Doug Bollinger, and struggled through the rest of the innings with only JP Duminy (49), Reeza Hendricks (18) and Rilee Rossouw (12) reaching double figures.
Pacemen James Faulkner (3-25) and Pat Cummins, who returned to the international arena with a miserly 1-11 from four overs, kept the South Africans in check, and legspinner Cameron Boyce chipped in with 2-15, having two batsmen stumped by Ben Dunk.
Australia raced to 43 in 19 minutes before Dunk was out for 23 in the fifth over, when he miscued a drive from Wayne Parnell directly to Kyle Abbott at mid-on.
Finch continued with Shane Watson (30) in a 49-run second-wicket stand to get Australia within 10 runs of victory in the 11th over, before Watson drove Parnell to Abbott to end his 22-ball cameo.
"We were outplayed in all forms," Duminy said. "Today was pretty convincing for Australia. They blew us away."
The outcome was a reversal of the opening match, which South Africa won by seven wickets in Adelaide. The series-deciding T20 will be on Sunday in Sydney, ahead of a five-match limited-overs series.
"We'll have to come out with something drastic on Sunday," Duminy said.
Finch, who plundered eight boundaries in his 30-ball innings, credited the bowlers with giving Australia the platform for the win, saying the performance with the ball was as good as anything he'd seen in T20 cricket.
"We're peaking at the right time," to win the series, he said.