South Africa loses seven-over shootout despite belligerent knocks from Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis
South Africa posted an imposing 80 for 1 that was achieved on the back of Quinton de Kock's unbeaten 20-ball 41 that included two fours and four towering sixes. Watching the ball fly over the boundary from the other end while still coming into his own whenever given the strike was Faf du Plessis, the South Africa captain, who smashed 27 off just 13 balls.
The exhilarating 74-run stand came at a time when South Africa was struggling at 11 for 1 after three overs. But, on the night, Brad Hodge’s calm and class, under pressure, overshadowed even the brutality of de Kock and du Plessis as Australia won with two balls to spare.
Hodge struck two huge sixes off Wayne Parnell in the last over to remain unbeaten on 21 off just eight deliveries.
Though Hodge delivered the knockout punch, Australia's chase was set up by David Warner, who blasted a typically aggressive 16-ball 40.
Warner was in his element right from the word go, hitting 21 off the opening over bowled by Lonwabo Tsotsobe. The belligerence upfront meant even the quick wickets of Aaron Finch and Shane Watson didn't really give South Africa any breathing space.
JP Duminy provided a glimmer of hope by dismissing Warner and Glenn Maxwell in the space of four deliveries, with Australia still needing 29 off 13 balls. Warner was out lbw while attempting a switch-hit, while Maxwell drilled a flattish delivery to du Plessis at backward point.
But Beuran Hendricks, the medium pacer, conceded 13 runs in the penultimate over to bring Australia within striking distance. In the end, South Africa was left to rue a slow start, but the game was an indication of the batting depth and firepower both sides can boast of at the ICC World T20.
Australia, who won the preceding Test series 2-1, would look to seal the T20I series when the two sides square off in the third and final match in Centurion on Friday.