New Delhi: Australian cricket team kicked-off its T20 World Cup campaign with a resounding victory over South Africa in a low-scoring thriller. Australia led by senior player Aaron Finch defeated South Africa by 5 wickets in the first match of Men’s T20 ICC World Cup Group Stage match on Saturday at the iconic Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. Batting first, South Africa were restricted to a paltry 118 runs off 20 overs for loss of 9 wickets. In reply, Australia chased down the target in 19.4 overs after losing 5 wickets.
At one stage in the match, South Africa looked favorites to win and even when things got pretty tight in the end they put their best to stop Australia from chasing down the target but such small target needed just a few good strokes from the Aussies for the win.
Aiden Markram’s Stunning Catch To Dismiss Steven Smith
Meanwhile, South Africa’s Aiden Markram completed an absolute stunner during Australia’s innings to dismiss Steve Smith just when he was about to shift gears and play some fiery strokes to ease on the building pressure in the run-chase. Smith hit a pull shot off Nortje’s delivery in 15th over but he failed to put in the required power behind his shot as the ball went high up in the air. Markram spotted the ball early and ran from long-on to dive and complete an absolutely stunning catch.
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When Australia came out to chase just 119 it seemed it will be an easy task for the star-studded Aussie batting lineup but South African speedsters Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje got early breakthroughs to keep Aussie openers in check. The fast-bowling duo put their team on top in the powerplay by dismissing both openers cheaply.
Markram then bagged a stunning diving catch in the deep, Shamsi departed in-form Glenn Maxwell who was looking dangerous. Half of Australia’s team had returned to the pavilion till the score of 81. The net run-rate kept on increasing as the match was reaching its end, but all-rounder Marcus Stoinis ensured that boundaries kept on coming to seal the deal for his team.