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Rejuvenated Australia upbeat about decider

Faf du Plessis welcomes opportunity to test South African side under pressure, with series on the line in third and final T20I

Rejuvenated Australia upbeat about decider - Cricket News
Chasing down 205, Australia completed a stirring comeback with a five-wicket win in the second T20I.
Australia and South Africa will meet in the third and final Twenty20 International at Newlands in Cape Town on Wednesday (March 9), in what is the last match for both sides before the upcoming ICC World Twenty20 2016. It is also the deciding match of a series that is locked at 1-1, after Australia completed a stirring comeback with a five-wicket win in the second T20I on Sunday, chasing down a target of 205.
 
Australia’s win was built on the back of superb knocks by David Warner (77 off 40) and Glenn Maxwell (75 off 43), and their 161-run stand off just 79 balls after the visiting side had been reduced to 32 for 3. The chase was also Australia’s highest-ever one in T20Is.
 
Warner, who had never batted in the middle order for Australia in T20Is before this series, has added greater depth to Australia’s batting order with his success at the position, the 77 following a score of 20 from No.3 in the first T20I. The Warner-Maxwell stand galvanised Australia, and the series. Warner was particularly dominant on the leg-side, taking 63 runs off 21 balls between fine-leg and long-on.
 
“We looked at the way the boys were playing in the Big Bash and ways to get people in the team,” said Warner about his move to the middle order. “Talking to Steven (Smith) and Boof (Darren Lehmann) and what the selectors felt, the key component was to have those two (Aaron Finch and Shane Watson) at the top with me and Steven in the middle. I am comfortable with that if that’s what Steve wants.”



Faf du Plessis, South Africa’s captain, felt that the game’s result could have been different had the team bowled well in the death overs. “As a captain all you can ask of your bowlers is to be skilful at the death and bowl the ball in the right areas and we did that,” said du Plessis. “I am not overly disappointed. The disappointing thing is that when the game is on the line, you want to make sure you get your basics right. To bowl two free hits in the last two-and-a-half overs is a match swing of about 10 or 12 runs.”
 
Du Plessis saw the brighter side of the loss, saying it gave South Africa a chance to test itself in a pressure game before travelling to India. “It gives us another opportunity to have a crack at a real pressure game,” he pointed out. “It’s nice going to the World Cup, just to make sure and to see when the pressure is really on you how we react.”
 
South Africa, who recently beat England in the T20I series, will be looking up to AB de Villiers to come good in the decider. De Villiers has had scores of 13 and 0 in the last two games, but made a series-winning 71 against England. In the bowling department, South Africa will need the kind of discipline that the unit had displayed in the first game.
 
Two-wicket hauls for Kagiso Rabada and David Wiese and Imran Tahir’s returns of 3 for 21 had kept Australia to 157 for 9 in Durban. After that, David Miller’s unbeaten 53 and du Plessis’s 26-ball 40 had given the home team a three-wicket win with four balls to spare.

Squads:
South Africa:
Faf du Plessis (capt), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wk), AB de Villiers (wkt), JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Chris Morris, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, David Wiese.
 
Australia: Steven Smith (capt), Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Nevill (wk), Andrew Tye, David Warner, Shane Watson, Adam Zampa.

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