Australia complete series turnaround despite Amla heroics


Australia completed a Twenty20 International series turnaround with a six-wicket victory over South Africa in Cape Town, securing a 2-1 triumph despite a brilliant knock from Hashim Amla.

After losing the first match in Durban, Australia followed up their epic final-ball five-wicket victory in Johannesburg with a last-over win against the hosts at Newlands.

Amla gave the Proteas selectors a headache as he took his chance to open alongside Quinton de Kock in place of the rested AB de Villiers with a career-best undefeated 97 from 62 delivieries, steering his side to a solid total of 178-4.

However, Australia once again mounted a successful, impressive chase through their superiority in the middle overs thanks to a 79-run partnership off 50 balls for the third wicket between Steve Smith (44 off 26) and David Warner (33).

Amla and De Kock (25) embarked on an electric opening and, although the latter was caught at third man off Nathan Coulter-Nile (2-36) in the fifth over, the Proteas notched 68 by the end of the powerplay.

Amla brought up his third T20I fifty off 33 balls in the 10th over but Australia began to stifle the Proteas' momentum through the spin of Adam Zampa (0-23) and Glenn Maxwell (0-24).

David Miller aided a late push with 30 off 16 balls and Amla finished a swashbuckling innings in fitting style with a powerful six - his 12th boundary and fourth maximum - over deep midwicket.

Australia left out Aaron Finch but opening duo Usman Khawaja (33) and Watson (42) produced a solid powerplay with 51 runs before Imran Tahir (2-38) looked set to turn the tide with the scalps of the opening pair in the ninth over.

However, Smith and Warner continued to pick up the runs in the middle overs and put the tourists well within sight of the total, the former scoring with efforts all around the field in a supremely controlled display.

After Warner narrowly survived a run out from Tahir in the 13th over, the bastman fell short of a double as the South Africa spinner's brilliant throw from third man arrowed to wicketkeeper De Kock.

Maxwell (19 not out) hit Dale Steyn (0-30) for four first ball to put Australia within 12 heading into the penultimate over and, although Smith looped Kagiso Rabada (1-38) back to De Kock, Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh (4 not out) clinched the victory with four balls remaining.