result
13th Match, Group 1, Abu Dhabi, Oct 23 2021, ICC Men's T20 World Cup
(19.4/20 ov, target 119)121/5
Australia won by 5 wickets (with 2 balls remaining)
Player Of The Match
2/19
josh-hazlewood

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    Down to the wire

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    Wade Game-changer?

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    Maxwell falls!

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    Smith gone!

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    Steven Smith!

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    Mitchell Marsh at No. 3

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    All eyes on Warner

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    SA 117 for 9 in 20 overs

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    SA fading fast

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    The SA slump

  • timeline-icon

    Toss and teams

  • timeline-icon

    Our expert panel

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    Welcome!

Showing newest sort
Updated 23-Oct-2021 • Published 23-Oct-2021

As it happened - Australia vs South Africa, Men's T20 World Cup, Super 12s

By Alagappan Muthu

Stoinis wins it!

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Down to the wire

18 Runs Australia need off the last 12 balls of the game. Anrich Nortje to bowl it. Dwaine Pretorius to bowl the 20th.

Dale Steyn on the broadcast says if Nortje concedes eight and takes a wicket, it's game on. ESPNcricinfo's win probability remains in Australia's favour. 78%

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Wade Game-changer?

25 Runs Australia need off the last three overs

Matthew Wade scoops Kagiso Rabada for four to end the 17th over. Two balls ago, he was flirting with danger, a drive on the up nearly landing in mid-off's hands. Aiden Markram could well emerge with the catch of the tournament - a full-length, mid-air, parallel-to-the-ground grab to dismiss Smith. Here though the ball dipped in front of him as he was diving forward and skipped away to the boundary. Two crucial fours from Wade.

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Maxwell falls!

23% South Africa's win probability according to ESPNcricinfo's smart stats

When Glenn Maxwell was around, SA only had a 15% chance of winning. But when he falls - three balls after Smith - there's a seismic shift on ESPNcricinfo's win predictor. By the end of the 16th over, SA were tracking at 33%

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Smith gone!

15% South Africa's win probability according to ESPNcricinfo Smart Stats

Steven Smith falls in the 15th over. Australia still need 38 off 30. Glenn Maxwell is still batting.

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Steven Smith!

This is the kind of T20 cricket that Steven Smith was made for.

He doesn't have a power game - yet - but he is sublime against spin. And he is sublime when conditions get tough. On a pitch where it's impossible to slog, batting requires finesse. It requires great hands and a cool head.

Smith demonstrates both as he back-foot thumps a short ball from Maharaj over extra cover. This shot is special for two reasons. One it shows that Smith understands he can't play cross-bat shots here. He has to play straight. And two, he picks the gap to the left of long-off to secure a boundary and keeps the asking rate close to 6 an over. If it's there and thereabouts, Smith knows he can play risk-free cricket and take Australia home.

And there really is no one better than Smith at playing risk-free cricket.

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Neck and neck

59/4 South Africa's score at the halfway point. Australia are 51 for 3. This is going to be tight
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Mitchell Marsh at No. 3

It was an experiment that Australia were almost forced to try on their recent tour of Bangladesh. Several of their first-choice picks were rested so that opened up a spot for the allrounder up top.

While there were few gains from that trip, Marsh's revival was one of them. Playing on slow, sharply turning pitches, his reach and his power were seen as useful counterattacking tools.

He was only just starting to show that when he launched Keshav Maharaj's left-arm spin straight to deep midwicket.

Australia wobbling at 39 for 3 in eight overs. They need 80 off 72 with seven wickets in hand. Steven Smith and the in-form Glenn Maxwell at the crease now. This is the game.

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All eyes on Warner

A pull over square leg. A cut through point. David Warner seemed to be tracking back to normal. There was confidence in his strokes. In his running. Glenn Maxwell, in the lead-up to this game, warned oppositions to write off the opener at their peril and his words were just starting to ring through... when a tame drive on the up ends up in the hands of the point fielder.

Slower ball from Kagiso Rabada does the trick. Australia 20 for 2 in 4.3 overs. Steven Smith and Mitchell Marsh at the crease.

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SA 117 for 9 in 20 overs

A wicket off the first ball of spin. Their best player playing on in inexplicable fashion. A batter losing his footing and getting run-out. This really hasn't been South Africa's day.

Australia, with the benefit of a few players coming off a good IPL, knew just what to do on a slow Abu Dhabi pitch. Josh Hazlewood (4-1-19-2) and Glenn Maxwell (4-0-24-1) were particularly devilish to deal with, their tight lines and into-the-wicket style completely tying the batters down and eventually taking them out.

With no room to work with, South Africa couldn't play any big shots. With tight fields, South Africa couldn't rotate strike. With no way out, South Africa stumble to 117 for 9

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SA fading fast

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Aiden Markram and David Miller were trying to pick up the pieces for South Africa, but a double-wicket over from Adam Zampa - and a run-out too - has put paid to all that.

South Africa 86 for 7 in 16 overs

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Slow and deadly

Forcing the ball off the square looks really difficult out there. It's a clear sign that this is a really slow pitch.

Australia have done really well to capitalise on it. They have always threatened the stumps, which makes sure the batter always has to play, and as a result any mischief from the pitch proves lethal.

That's what Heinrich Klaasen found out as a Pat Cummins dug an offcutter into the pitch on middle and off and it stopped on the batter, turning a nudge to midwicket into a catch to point.

Moral of the story: Bowl straight. Bowl into the wicket. And you can take the batter down.

South Africa 59 for 4 in 10 overs

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The SA slump

29/3 This is South Africa's worst powerplay in T20Is since Feb 2019
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WTH?!

The ball is basic.

Length. No swing. No seam. No nothing.

de Kock decides to boss it.

He goes for a scoop.

He mis-hits.

And everything stops.

The ball is hanging in the air.

Right over the stumps.

Then it begins moving in slow motion.

And de Kock's eyes are horror-movie wide.

He stands absolutely still watching the chaos.

As the ball plonks right on top of his stumps

South Africa 23 for 3 in five overs

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What a start!

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Josh Hazlewood had really come into his own in the latter part of the IPL, which concluded with him playing a crucial role in Chennai Super Kings becoming champions.

He's been working very hard on his variations. But with the new ball, it's classic. Hit the deck. Get some seam. Nab the edge. Van der Dussen gone. Zip. Zap. Zoom.

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Maxwell ball

Bavuma looked a million bucks in the five balls of pace he faced.

And it was extreme pace. Mitchell Starc was swinging the ball into his middle stump and he kept driving them through holes in the offside field.

First ball of spin though and his stumps are splayed.

Glenn Maxwell continues to be a gamebreaker in the UAE. Soon after a stunning all-round show with RCB, he's here doing magical things for Australia.

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History in the making

1 This is the first time Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood are playing a T20I together.
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Toss and teams

Bavuma calls tails. It's heads. Aaron Finch will bowl first. "Nice covering of grass" he notes immediately.

Two spinners for South Africa. Three quicks for Australia.

Australia: Finch, Warner, Marsh, Maxwell, Smith, Stoinis, Wade, Cummins, Starc, Hazlewood, Zampa

South Africa: de Kock, Bavuma, Markram, Miller, van der Dussen, Klaasen, Pretorius, Maharaj, Rabada, Nortje, Shamsi

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Our expert panel

4:40
T20 World Cup predictions: who will be the semi-finalists?

They have stars on the field. We have stars in our studio. Please do tune in to Talking Tactics on ESPNcricinfo where our expert panel will analyse everything that goes down this T20 World Cup.

We have two acclaimed T20 coaches in Mahela Jayawardene and Tom Moody. We have one of the best commentators in the world Ian Bishop. We have a current Pakistan player in Shan Masood. We have... oh, just do yourself a favour and watch the video!

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South Africa's challenge

South Africa are here and they should be feared. They come into this World Cup on the back of beating the current champions and the former champions. They have the No.1 ranked bowler in their line-up and he made a point to say scream that this side is not as bad as people are worried about.

There's no Faf du Plessis. No AB de Villiers. No Imran Tahir. Kagiso Rabada is out of form. Their captain has played only 16 T20s. And there is a severe spotlight on their team culture.

The pressure is on. But it's the kind that can mold diamonds.

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Aussie Aussie Aussie

Australia usually swagger into World Cups, with bowlers who are more myth than man and a batting line-up stretching all the way to the horizon. 2003 was like that. 2007 was like that. 2021 is a little different.

David Warner is not looking so good. Aaron Finch is coming off a knee injury. Steven Smith isn't really GOATy in T20s. Marcus Stoinis is still finding his finishing feet. Glenn Maxwell, if he reprises his IPL 2021 avatar, may well paper over those concerns but can one man shoulder the burden of a whole team?

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Welcome!

Rivalries don’t come more storied. Well they do but we’re going to ignore that hype machine for now.

Australia and South Africa have a history of saving their most ridiculous performances for each other. There was Edgbaston 1999. Until rather recently, that was the greatest ODI ever played. There was Jo’burg 2006. The day every single limit in limited-overs cricket went careeeeeeeeeening out the window. Ponting. Gibbs. Ntini. 434. 438. Adelaide 2012. The breathtaking, spellbinding, bare-knuckle blockathon. Perth 2016. Steyn falls. KG rises. There's other stuff too. Seriously. A lot of other stuff.

Cricket is so much the richer for all the stories that come from an Australia vs South Africa match. So it feels quite fitting that it kicks off the Super 12s stage of the 2021 T20 World Cup.

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