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Miller's maiden T20I fifty sees South Africa through

Home side recovers from 95 for 6 to chase 158, beating Australia by three wickets; Tahir, Wiese star with the ball

Miller's maiden T20I fifty sees South Africa through - Cricket News
A maiden Twenty20 International half-century from David Miller (53 not out) and impressive bowling from Imran Tahir (3 for 21) and David Wiese (2 for 16) helped South Africa to a three-wicket win in a hard-fought first T20I against Australia in Durban on Friday (March 4).

Aaron Finch's 18-ball 40 and Mitchell Marsh's rearguard 35 had helped Australia post 157 for 9, but Miller's 35-ball innings, studded with three sixes and three fours, took South Africa past the line with four balls to spare. Faf du Plessis too contributed, with 40 from 26 balls.

South Africa's chase started on a poor note when AB de Villiers nicked the first ball of the innings, from Nathan Coulter-Nile, to fall for nought. Coulter-Nile then had Quinton de Kock chipping a return catch to a slower ball in his next over, and things turned worse for the home side when JP Duminy pulled Andrew Tye to short mid-wicket two overs later.

The early wickets jolted the chase, but South Africa had a solid hand to guide it in the form of du Plessis. The South Africa captain launched a counter-attack, smashing Glenn Maxwell for two sixes and a four, before engaging in a small but steady stand with Rilee Rossouw. 

The pair added 31 for the fourth wicket but just when the going looked easy, both fell off successive balls in the 10th over to tilt the game in Australia's favour again. Rossouw was the first to go, slicing Mitchell Marsh to backward point before du Plessis ran himself out while looking for a cheeky single off the wicketkeeper. 

South Africa seemed to have thrown it away when Wiese too fell run out a while later, but Miller stood firm between Australia and a victory. The momentum shifted decisively in the 16th over when Miller took on Tye for two massive sixes through the legside. South Africa lost Chris Morris in the next over, but Australia couldn't get past Miller, who remained unbeaten to steer South Africa home. 

Australia seemed set for a lot more than 157 when it began the innings in top gear after opting to bat.

Usman Khawaja fell in the third over when he pulled Kagiso Rabada to deep square-leg, but the wicket had little impact on Finch. South Africa tried the offspin of JP Duminy within the Power Play, but Finch made du Plessis pay for the move in just four balls, smashing three consecutive sixes and a four. David Warner joined the party as well, hammering Chris Morris for two fours and a six as Australia raced away to 69 for 1 in the first six overs.

However, the momentum shifted as soon as the fielding restrictions ended. Warner slapped the first ball of the seventh over -- Wiese's first ball -- to backward point, and Finch did the same to Imran Tahir in the next over, hitting a full toss straight to deep mid-wicket. Tahir could have had another in the very next ball had Quinton de Kock, the wicketkeeper, held on to a chance off Glenn Maxwell's outside edge.

Steven Smith and Maxwell struggled to get going before falling in a space of five balls as Australia slipped from 69 for 1 to 97 for 5. Tahir then struck twice more to leave Australia in trouble at 114 for 7, but Mitchell Marsh struck a few big blows to lift them over 150. Miller, however, ensured it wasn't enough.

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