Australia complete stunning fightback following Warner, Maxwell heroics


Australia levelled their Twenty20 series with South Africa in thrilling fashion on Sunday, Mitchell Marsh securing a final-ball victory in Johannesburg after David Warner and Glenn Maxwell had shared a sensational partnership of 161.

The Proteas appeared set to follow up Friday's three-wicket success in Durban with another triumph when they posted 204-7 on the back of Faf du Plessis' 41-ball 79 and then reduced Australia to 32-3 inside six overs.

However, Warner and Maxwell launched a devastating counter-attack and only 12 runs were needed from seven deliveries by the time the latter departed for a magnificent 75, made from just 43 balls.

Another twist in the tale followed as Warner (77 from 40) was yorked by the exceptional Kagiso Rabada (2-25) at the beginning of the final over.

However, James Faulkner edged Australia closer to the finishing line before Marsh, who should have been run out by Chris Morris from the ball that followed Maxwell's dismissal, managed to take two down the ground off the last delivery, setting up a decider in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Australia's dramatic win was cruel on both Rabada and Du Plessis, the standout performers for the hosts.

Although Quinton de Kock and David Miller contributed brisk innings of 44 and 33 respectively, skipper Du Plessis was chiefly responsible for lifting his side beyond 200 - as 39 runs came from the final 11 balls of South Africa's innings.

John Hastings conceded 26 runs in the 20th over, having taken 1-16 from three prior to that point, and Australia were in deep trouble when their top three fell cheaply in reply.

An outstanding yorker from Rabada accounted for Aaron Finch (2) and the paceman then pulled off a superb one-handed catch at third man to remove Steve Smith (19) off Dale Steyn (2-32), who also had Shane Watson (9) caught in the off side later in the same over.

Facing a stiff challenge, Warner and Maxwell turned the game around with the fourth-highest stand in T20 internationals and Australia's best in the format.

David Wiese (0-58) and Imran Tahir (0-47) came in for particular punishment as boundaries flowed and South Africa were made to pay for several moments of sloppiness in the closing overs as Australia completed an unlikely fightback.