Skipper Mitchell Marsh played his career-best knock of 92* off just 49 balls to help Australia register their biggest margin (by runs) of triumph over South Africa by 111 runs in the first T20I of the three-match series at Kingsmead in Durban on Wednesday, August 30.
South Africa’s captain Aiden Markram’s decision to bowl first on a beautiful deck at the Kingsmead turned out to be a nightmarish experience for the entire team as the hosts got ripped to shreds by the batting might of the Player of the Match Marsh and Tim David.
Australia got off to a flying start but lost the trio of Travis Head, debutant Matthew Short and wicketkeeper batter Josh Inglis within the first six overs. However, Marsh capitalised on the brilliant beginning and flexed his muscles as he took the attack to the South African bowlers.
He got remarkable support from dasher David as the duo aggregated 97 runs for the fifth wicket off a mere 52 balls. In the absence of seasoned performers like Kagiso Rabada, and Anrich Nortje among others the Proteas looked clueless with the ball in hand as Marsh and David guided the visitors to their highest T20I score in the format and sixth-highest overall. The Kangaroos also set up a new powerplay record at the venue after accumulating 70 runs in the first six overs beating their own previous best.
Chasing 227 on a pleasant batting turf, the hosts needed to go hell for leather from the beginning but there was always the danger of losing wickets up front and that’s what eventually happened. They lost half their side in the first nine overs and were battling time to avoid the inevitable.
It was the debutant Tanveer Sangha with the ball in hand who caused the most damage to South Africa. The young leggie bagged 4 for 31 and missed out on breaking Michael Kasprowicz’s record of producing the best bowling figures for Australia on debut in T20Is by a whisker.
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