The Proteas ended their Australasian tour on a high with an emphatic 21-run victory over Australia at the Carrara Oval in Carrara on Saturday.
The T20 international had been reduced to 10 overs per side as rain delayed the start of the one and only T20 of the short tour but the Proteas, as they have done for most of their tour, had their counterparts number and put in another polished performance.
Aaron Finch had won the toss and elected to bowl first and the decision first up seemed to be the wrong one with South Africa posting a competitive 108 for six in their 10 overs. Quniton de Kock (22) and Reeza Hendricks (19) gave the visitors the perfect start with an opening stand of 42 runs in just under three overs.
Hendricks smashed three fours and a six from just eight balls before holing out to Ben McDermott on the boundary off Nathan Coulter-Nile (2-0-19-2). But Hendricks’ departure did not stem the flow of runs as De Kock was joined by his captain, Faf du Plessis (27).
The pair added another 19 runs in 2.2 overs before De Kock came barreling down the track to Glenn Maxwell (2-0-14-1), only to be stumped by wicketkeeper Alex Carey after facing 16 balls and hitting two maximums.
Du Plessis clubbed four boundaries in his innings from 15 balls but was brilliantly caught on the boundary by Maxwell, from the bowling of Billy Stanlake (2-0-23-1). Maxwell claimed the catch but managed to throw the ball back up into the air before going over the rope, and then returning to the field of play to complete the catch and send the SA skipper on his way.
Heinrich Klaasen (12 off 6 balls) and David Miller (11) played small cameos at the back end but Farhaan Behardien (3 not out), Chris Morris (0) and Andile Phehlukwayo (2 not out) were unable to give the visiting total a proper boost at the end from the platform that had been laid.
In reply, the home side, who had lost their three previous T20 internationals on the trot, started off badly as Finch (7) charged Lungi Ngidi (2-0-16-2) and had his leg stump disturbed. Morris (2-0-12-2) was the pick of the bowlers as he first had Darcy Short caught in the covers by Phehlukwayo for a first-ball duck and then produced the ball of the match when he Yorked the dangerous Chris Lynn (14).
Australia continued to lose wickets which put an end to any realistic hopes of the home side pulling the fat out of the fire. Marcus Stoinis (5) was caught at backward point by Aiden Markram, who was on the field for Ngidi, from the bowling of Phehlukwayo (2-0-21-2), who also had McDermott (4) caught behind by De Kock.
Carey struggled to find the boundary before lofting Tabraiz Shamsi (2-0-12-1) straight to Klaasen on the long-off boundary for just 8. Maxwell tried his best to keep the chase alive with two fours and two sixes but was last man out for 38 from 23 balls off the final delivery of the game, launching Ngidi into the air where Behardien claimed a good catch running in from the boundary.