ABU DHABI: South African bowlers tried hard but Australia chased 119 in last over with five wickets in hand to win opening match of T20 World Cup here at Sheikh Zayed International Stadium on Saturday.
Set to chase 119, Australia lost their captain Aaron Finch who walked off without scoring. It was not too late when two other batters, David Warner (14) and Mitchel Marsh (11), went back to the hut, leaving Australia suffering at 38-3.
Steven Smith carried the innings from there and stayed at the crease to support his team in the run-chase. He scored 35 runs off 34 balls before Aiden Markram’s spectacular catch at the ropes forced him to leave the field. His inning included three boundaries.
Marcus Stoinis (24*) and Matthew Wade (15*) added valuable 38 runs to take Australia over the victory line.
Anrich Nortje bagged two wickets for South Africa whereas Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi shared a wicket each.
Earlier, Australia grabbed South Africa at 118-9 in 20 overs.
Asked to bat first, South Africa were bamboozled by Australian bowlers as they kept losing wickets after regular intervals. Skipper Temba Bavuma started off aggressively with back-to-back boundaries but Glenn Maxwell bowled him to provide early breakthrough to Australia.
Markram looked in good touch but wickets tumbling at the other hand put pressure on him. He played steadily but managed to score just 40 runs off 36 balls laced with three boundaries and a six.
Rabada, in the end, played a handy knock of 20 runs with the help of a boundary and six.
For Australia, Mitchel Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Adam Zampa bagged two wickets each while Maxwell and Pat Cummins took a scalp each.
Australian captain Aaron Finch has won the toss and decided to field first against South Africa in T20 World Cup’s opener here at Sheikh Zayed International Stadium on Saturday.
AUSTRALIA: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steven Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade †, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
SOUTH AFRICA: Quinton de Kock †, Temba Bavuma (c), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi