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Mighty Australia seals series triumph

Amla’s unbeaten 97 to no avail as South Africa slumps to six-wicket loss in decider

Mighty Australia seals series triumph - Cricket News
Hashim Amla was in excellent touch, hitting an unbeaten 97 off 62 balls.
Australia was on a rare five-match losing streak after the first Twenty20 International against South Africa in Durban, but by the end of the third game in Cape Town on Wednesday (March 9), it had turned things around quite impressively, finishing with a 2-1 series victory.
Hashim Amla was in excellent touch, hitting an unbeaten 97 off 62 balls, but it was trumped by a collective batting display from Australia as Steven Smith’s side won by six wickets to head into the ICC World T20 2016 in India on a high.
Defending 178 for 4 after winning the toss, South Africa got a dose of its own medicine as Shane Watson and Usman Khawaja, replacing Aaron Finch, sent the host on a leather hunt, setting the tone for Australia’s 181 for 4 with four deliveries to spare.
Both batsmen used the pace of Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada to good effect as runs came in a torrent. It didn't help that South Africa's fielding wasn't as high as its usual lofty standards, David Miller dropping Watson on 30 off Imran Tahir.
There was no slumping of shoulders from Tahir though as he continued to bait Watson, this time with a wide delivery. Running back from cover, Faf du Plessis wasn't able to hold on off the first ball of the eighth over. The second ball, Watson (42 off 27 balls) pushed his luck with a near-identical shot off a near-identical ball, but this time, du Plessis wasn't letting go.

Tahir then had Khawaja caught at deep square-leg for 33 off 25 balls, but Australia was still ahead at 79 for 2 after the ninth over. And it was here that Australia managed to keep the foot on the pedal whereas South Africa had slowed down at a similar stage in its innings.
Smith might have started as twitchy as the squirrel that made an extended cameo on the outfield, but he settled in nicely -- South Africa's bowlers clearly not as successful as the ground's appointed squirrel chaser. David Warner smacked 33 off 27 before an excellent throw from Tahir at third-man ended his stay and Smith followed him back to the dressing for 44 off 26, creating some artificial excitement, but it was doused fairly quickly as Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh ensured Australia reached the target with plenty to spare.
Amla was back in the T20I side after sitting out in the first two games, and showed what South Africa was missing almost straightaway. AB de Villiers had only managed 0 and 13, filling in for Amla at the top of the order, but here, the host  was able to get off to a flier.
After an expensive opening over by Nathan Coulter-Nile, Australia handed the ball to Watson, but he fared even worse, going for 18 runs. Coulter-Nile did nab Quinton de Kock, bringing an end to the 47-run opening stand, but Amla continued the onslaught in the very same over, throwing down the gauntlet.
But while Amla kept finding the gaps, the remaining batsmen seemed to only locate the fielders. Du Plessis fell cheaply, and Rilee Rossouw, with pressure on him to keep his place, chewed up balls. The run-rate, which had rocketed to over 11 in the Power Play, was hovering around 8 an over. Rossouw couldn't even make the most of a rare drop from Maxwell either as his stay at the crease came to end after scoring 16 off 21 balls.
From 123 for 3 in the 15th over, Miller managed to up the tempo with a 16-ball 30. Amla too brought the crowd to its feet, thwacking two sixes in the final over, but in the end, the sluggish period in the middle overs proved costly.

For full scorecard of the match, click here.

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