South Africa v Australia, 3rd T20, Centurion March 14, 2014

Starc's chin music and AB's apology

ESPNcricinfo picks out the plays of the day in the third T20 between South Africa and Australia in Centurion

Starc's chin music

In a tour that was billed as a battle of the bowlers, the batsmen would have known they were in line to get hurt. With extra bounce on offer in Centurion, pain was all but guaranteed. With the third delivery of the match, Mitchell Starc got one to rear up and seam away from Quinton de Kock and the youngster's heart my have skipped a beat. He would have had it in his throat three balls later when Starc dug it in short and the ball bounced to hit de Kock just below the chin. His grille jammed against the lower part of his face and his collarbone appeared to have taken the bulk of the impact. De Kock received treatment immediately and took a few minutes to get his breath back before batting on.

The mis-hit six

It's not often that AB de Villiers gets it wrong but even when he does, he manages to make it right anyway. De Villiers was two balls into his innings when Brad Hogg served up a half-tracker. The swipe over mid-wicket was not timed at all and, at first, it looked as though de Villiers had hit the ball straight up. He wore a pained expression even as he watched it sail over over the boundary for six and eventually offered a sheepish grin at his good fortune.

The triumphant return

Albie Morkel spent his comeback match doing nothing more than fielding and would have have been pleased to get some time in the middle in this one. With South Africa in trouble, he was quiet for six deliveries before Shane Watson presented him with an inviting length. Morkel cleared the front leg and swung hard, sending the ball over cow corner and many rows back into the stands to announce his big-hitting return.

The toe-cruncher

Morkel managed only one more cracking shot before he was undone by a delivery that needs to become more frequent in this format. Starc's toe-cruncher was on target and Morkel could not keep it out. By the time he brought the bat down, middle and off stump had been disturbed.

AB's apology

It wasn't de Villiers' night with the bat and it wasn't his night in the field either. It was the fourth over of the chase and he was stationed at point when Aaron Finch hit the ball his way. Awkward bounce saw it slip past him and allow two runs. Later that same over, de Villiers was undone by bounce again. Cameron White's square drive went over his head as de Villiers' was on his haunches trying to stop it. When de Villiers looked to be fooled by the bounce off the next ball, his home ground could not help but jeer and de Villiers raised a hand in apology to them.

The perfect cover drive

Before play, Aaron Finch joked that he did not just stand and swing but there was some method to the madness. He proved it by playing the shot of the match. Finch played the perfect cover drive off Wayne Parnell after slamming a couple of short balls with disdain. He inched forward to a slightly fuller one and caressed it through the covers. The timing was exceptional and would have satisfied most purists.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • David on March 17, 2014, 2:10 GMT

    @ ZCFOutkast. I'd be interested to hear your comments on the development of Quinton de Kock. When he was first picked for T20 & PDI games you objected fiercely, as you now do about his playing tests. However, he keeps proving you wrong, match after match, and after all the negative posts you have made about him, I'm wondering if you have ever considered commenting on his performance in the short formats, or are you going to pretend that he just does not exist?

  • James on March 15, 2014, 11:29 GMT

    Ram Jegenran, let me assure you Starc is not being under-appreciated in Australia. We know he is a gun - although a little inconsistent. Last time I looked he was averaging about 16 with the ball in T20s, and under 20 for ODIs.

    He's been injured for six months. I'd be happy to see him and Johnson in the same T20 team. Besides their bowling, both can bat pretty good.

  • ZCF on March 15, 2014, 9:48 GMT

    I can't see any other takers for the World Cup other than the Aussies, unless the West Indies master blasters click on the day or the Indian spinners find form. Knocking over the top 5 and still having Maxwell&Gaulkner to contend with will send some bowlers into depression.

    finch, warner, watson, hodge, bailey(c), maxwell, haddin, faulkner, johnson, starc, hogg

    Australia could easily have sent 3 different teams to this WC and all of them would've been favourites. Getting a double dose of IPL and the competitive Big Bash is proving to be a bonus. Maybe it's time the BCCI allowed their players to freedom to play in other tournaments.

    Depthwise Australia and the WI seem to be the countries benefitting most considering India's one diet, since Eng, SA, SL&Pak don't have much of a rich T20 tournament outside of the IPL where they have limited representation, with most of their T20 sides pretty much tweaked Tests sides anyway with players who are average in T20 and have limited practice.

  • Cameron on March 15, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    Australia continue their domination, what a resurgence!

  • Altaf on March 15, 2014, 6:55 GMT

    Why AB still comes at No. 5 in all formats, are they serious at-least after depart of Kallis and Smith?

  • Dummy4 on March 15, 2014, 6:32 GMT

    Expected a close game. But was one sided. Aussies has a good chance to win T20 World Cup.

  • Android on March 15, 2014, 3:32 GMT

    good see that Quinton de kcock didnt threw it away. ,, he took the blows & sustained in the pressure. ... although he didnt get support @the other end carried on... this boy is the one to watch out for in worldt20

  • Brett on March 15, 2014, 1:35 GMT

    How does Albie still get a game? You can't pick a guy just because he can club a few at the end of an innings. 22 wickets @ 34.5 with an economy of 8 says it all really - the Aussies just saw him as fodder.

  • suru on March 15, 2014, 1:33 GMT

    so fast track bullies SA'ns too fear of short ball.

  • rob on March 15, 2014, 1:26 GMT

    Starc is an excellent l.o bowler. The perfect backup for Johnson in fact. I'm not sure there's room for both of them in the T20 side though. 50 over stuff, no worries, but T20, I don't think so.

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