DURAN -A blistering onslaught from Travis Head helped Australia beat South Africa by five wickets in their third and final T20 match at Kingsmead on Sunday.
Chasing South Africa’s 8-190, Head thumped a career-high 91 off 48 balls to help lift Australia to win with 13 balls to spare, with Josh Inglis (42 or 22) and Marcus Stoinis (37 off 21 not out) chipping in to seal the series 3-0. Head cracked six sixes and eight fours in his knock. He was given a life on 55 when Temba Bavumadropped a tough diving attempt.
Bavuma eventually got his man with a catch in the deep, but Australia only needed five more runs for victory by that stage. Head had posted scores of just 18 and six in the first two matches, and his display on Sunday was an ominous warning for South Africa ahead of the upcoming five-match ODI series starting on September 7.
Earlier, Australian paceman Sean Abbott shone with the ball after snaring career-best figures of 4-31. South Africa had slumped to 2-12 in the third over after Marcus Stoinis got the scalps of Temba Bavuma (0) and debutant Matthew Breetzke (5). Handy knocks from captain Aiden Markram (41 off 23 balls), Reeza Hendricks (42 off 30) and Tristan Stubbs (25 off 16) helped steady the ship before Donovan Ferreira (48 off 21 balls) provided the late fireworks after a middle-order slump.
Australian legspinner Tanveer Sangha, who snared 4-31 on debut in the series opener, should have had a wicket in his first over on Sunday. Hendricks was on 18 when he was struck on the midriff by a Sangha delivery. The ball bounced down and hit the base of leg stump with some force – but the baildidn’t budge. Sangha and captain Mitch Marsh laughed in disbelief, but the smiles soon vanished as South Africa moved to 3-116 in the 13th over.
A middle-order collapse of 3-6, which included a double-wicket maiden from Abbott, resulted in South Africa crashing to 6-122. But debutant Ferreira got things back on track by thumping five sixes and one four in his blistering knock. Abbott was the chief destroyer, his four-wicket haul including the wicket of Markram just as the South Africa skipper looked set to launch into a huge total. Stoinis (2- 39) made a strong start but was pummelled in his later overs, while Sangha (1-39) also copped some punishment, but it was Nathan Ellis (0-50) who copped the brunt of South Africa’s fightback, especially when Ferreira was at full force.