South Africa v Australia, 1st Twenty20, Cape Town October 13, 2011

Watson helps Australia win T20 opener


Australia 147 for 5 (Watson 52) beat South Africa 146 for 7 (Duminy 67, Cummins 3-25) by 5 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A powerful half-century from Shane Watson helped Australia make an encouraging start to their tour of South Africa as they won the opening Twenty20 in Cape Town by five wickets. The teenage debutant Patrick Cummins collected three wickets as South Africa reached 146 for 7, led by a solid innings from JP Duminy, and the target wasn't enough to prevent Australia from turning around their recent poor T20 form.

Although Australia's chase was on track for most of the innings, a couple of good late overs from Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe gave South Africa a sniff in the dying stages. Australia needed six from the final over, bowler by Rusty Theron, and a single from Matthew Wade was followed by a square-driven boundary and a single from Steven Smith to get Australia home with three balls to spare, their second win from their past nine T20s.

It was also their second win under the captaincy of Cameron White, who took over from Michael Clarke in January. White made a valuable contribution of 28 from 22 deliveries to keep Australia's chase ticking along, and David Hussey's 25 was also important, until he skied a slower ball from Tsotsobe in the second last over.

Earlier in the over, Hussey had slammed Tsotsobe straight back over his head for an enormous six that all but ensured Australia's victory. Two balls prior he had been dropped by Johan Botha at backward point, one of two spilled chances by Botha, who also gave White a reprieve at cover.

Theron wasn't the only South African who could be called rusty, which perhaps was understandable given they had not played an international match since they exited the World Cup in March. The most important of three missed chances in the field came in the second over when Graeme Smith put down Watson at slip off the bowling of Morne Morkel.

Watson was on 2 at the time and he certainly made the South Africans pay. He used his muscle to pull Tsotsobe for six but he also played some classical strokes, including a perfect straight drive for four off Theron, who went for 42 from his three and a half overs. Watson brought up his half-century from his 34th delivery and although he fell soon after, from a leading edge caught at cover off Morkel for 52, he had done enough to set Australia on the path to victory.

The chase had started poorly for Australia when David Warner, fresh from a pair of centuries in his final two Champions League innings, was run out without scoring in the first over. Warner mistimed a pull and took off for a single but was caught short at the bowler's end by a wonderful direct hit form Morkel at backward square leg.

Watson and Shaun Marsh (25) then combined for an 82-run stand that more than steadied the Australians, who had worked hard in the field to ensure a gettable target. Only twice before had Australia chased down bigger totals to win T20 internationals, and the target could have been greater but for a triple-wicket over in the 19th of the innings from Cummins.

At 18, Cummins became Australia's second-youngest debutant of all time in any format, but he showed plenty of poise to finish with 3 for 25 from his four overs. He collected the important wicket of Duminy, who on 67 failed to negotiate the slower ball from Cummins and skied a catch to Watson at cover.

Cummins was soon on a hat-trick when he had David Miller (20) caught at long-off trying to clear the rope, and while the hat-trick ball was clipped for four through square leg by Botha, Cummins struck again later in the over. Again it was the slower ball that worked for Cummins, who had Botha caught at cover, and when Watson bowled Robin Peterson in the final over, Australia's bowlers had done well to keep the target from ballooning.

Earlier, Duminy had spent some time getting himself in, and was soon striking the ball cleanly and finding the middle of the bat. He welcomed the left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe with a six over long-on first ball, and took to the offerings of another of Australia's debutants, James Pattinson, who ended up with 1 for 32.

Pattinson's final over leaked 19 runs as Duminy crunched him for a four through midwicket and then launched a pair of sixes over midwicket and deep cover. Duminy had support from two of the newer members of South Africa's batting order, in a 58-run partnership with Colin Ingram that was followed by a 65-run stand with Miller.

Miller had come to the crease after the departure of Ingram for 33 off 28 deliveries, when he was deceived by the slower ball from Pattinson and lofted the ball to Cummins at deep cover. Ingram had scored at a decent rate, driving square through point when given width and clipping through leg when the bowlers overcorrected.

He lifted David Hussey over long-on for six, just clearing the rope when Warner jumped and got a hand to the ball but failed to cling on to what would have been a brilliant catch. Warner had already done something wonderful in the field, with an excellent throw from the deep having caught the stand-in captain Hashim Amla short for 4.

Amla was coming back for a third run but couldn't beat the accurate throw from Warner, who had run back at deep midwicket to save the boundary. Another of Australia's four debutants, the wicketkeeper Wade, collected Warner's return and whipped the bails off quickly to leave South Africa in trouble at 10 for 2 in the third over.

Their problems had started in the first over when Smith looked rusty in South Africa's first international match since the World Cup in March. No runs came off the bat in the first over, which ended with Smith dragging the ball on from well outside off to hand Doug Bollinger, remarkably playing his first T20 international, his first wicket in the format.

Australia were on top, and South Africa never quite recovered from the early losses.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on October 16, 2011, 3:07 GMT

    @hyclass - the thing with Waugh v Langar is, that Langar actually use to belt attacks at the start of the innings & often would outscore Hayden early on, once the field spread he'd slow down. Waugh played a lot of cricket against strong W Indies sides, & scoring was never easy, but the way Waugh would glance thru the on-side or thru the covers was worth the price of admission, Langar was more effective, but I'd never pay to see him play. At the moment Punter has an average similar to Greg Chappell, Punter probably even has a better S/R (should do), but I would rather watch a Chappell masterclass ton than a Punter ton, (& I'm a Punter fan), statistics lean to Punter as being the better batsmen, for mine Greg Chappell is the 2nd best Ozzy batsmen ever, then Border, (he was an ugly duckling in comparison), then Punter.

  • Christopher on October 15, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    @davidallan...theres no question that Warner is playing better but your observation is a completely reasonable one,although his mode of dismissal hardly lends itself to judgement on his batting form.My particular caveat on Warner,is that none of his success has come on wickets with bounce,pace,or seam movement.The recent push for Warner to be considered for Tests & ODI doesnt take into account that before he played his 3 1st class innings in Zimbabwe for 1 x 100 & 1 x 50,his 1st class average was 36.90 for NSW.His List A average is still only 28.I welcome his improved form but believe a great deal more good would accrue,both for Warner & those who want to see him prosper,if he demonstrated the same quality of form over an entire Shield season.The great advantage of Shield is the diversity of wickets that encourage a more rounded game & are a superior proving ground.Warner hasnt been good enough until recently to command a NSW place & he averaged only 18 in 7 List A games last season.

  • Dummy4 on October 15, 2011, 10:40 GMT

    Awesome play by Watson!!!

  • Sharky on October 15, 2011, 8:45 GMT

    Jacques Rudolph should have been South Africas lefthand-opener and captain, long before Graeme Smith. Just a pity for that political debacle that happened Australia with Percy Sonn before they replaced Shaun Pollock as captain.

  • yogi on October 15, 2011, 6:44 GMT

    Guyz, watch out for Cummins. He is the next big thing. I saw him bowl on flat wickets in India (CL20). The guy was bowling fireballs. This young fellow is very good.

  • Sharky on October 15, 2011, 6:35 GMT

    SA Proteas and their personal problems always have controversial team choices. Seems like they never ever wants to pick their best XI for an occasion. Did the selectors watch CLT20?? Have they learned from their mistakes the last World Cup?? It doesn't seem so. Where are Gibbs and Albie Morkel (SA's T20 & Limited Overs specialist). And why is Graeme Smith still playing Limited Overs? He should concentrate on Unlimited Overs. The South African arrogance, again, shines thru. After The Wallabies have crushed The Springboks out of The Rugby World Cup, I thought it was payback time for South Africa on home soil. Not to be. Shane Watson looks like he will be the next Jacques Kallis.

  • Randolph on October 15, 2011, 2:33 GMT

    @hyclass, very well put and I could not agree more. Aussies hate being clamped down and hopefully now we can unleash natural talent (even if unorthodox) and dominate once again.

  • Dummy4 on October 14, 2011, 12:54 GMT

    SA don't seem to take the pre-50 over T20 matches seriously. Its either you go in with your best team or you go in with a team of up and coming youngsters. SA did neither. You just have to have a "bowler destroyer" up front. And that person has to be given free reign and has to be guaranteed a place in the team regardless of runs scored. That's high risk cricket, and that's T20 cricket. For the life of me cannot understand why Herschelle Gibbs gets overlooked every time. We need him to open the batting! Amla not suited for T20 and not suited for captaincy either. He's not intimidating at all, and he's not "in your face" and chirpy. You need to have some degree of arrogance to lead a team. Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Graeme Smith, Andrew Strauss. All good examples. Van Wyk had to play in place of Heino. And we need to find a new finisher. Miller is supposed to be the guy, but it didn't look like it yesterday. Albie has also lost a bit of "Klusener-ness". Go level the series boys!

  • Gordon on October 14, 2011, 11:32 GMT

    It looks like it will be a drawn twenty/20 series at 1-1 all. From what I have seen Smith is still facing the same problems he did before he got injured. In all seriousness I don't know that he will make the Test squad. However of course if he does turn it around and start making some runs in the shortest form of the game and the 50 over game by all means retain him in the test squad.

  • Daniel on October 14, 2011, 8:39 GMT

    No surprise in the result here - SA picked a t20 side without a single player capable of taking apart the opposition bowling, left out their best spinner (Tahir) from the squad altogether, picked a couple of "quicks" (sic) that were totally out of form in Tsotsobe and theron and were captained by a player not good enough to hold his place in the lineup (as good as amla is in other forms, he has done nothing in any form of t20) and who had never captained in this form of the game before. Expect the same result in the next game if SA dont make changes

  • No featured comments at the moment.