Australian cricket’s month of woe on the international stage continued with a convincing seven-wicket loss to South Africa in the first Twenty20 clash at Adelaide Oval last night.
The hosts made 6-144 off their 20 overs, which was comfortably run down by the Proteas with six balls to spare for the loss of only three wickets.
South Africa’s catching was brilliant, constantly stymieing Australia’s momentum with acrobatic and well-taken grabs in the field. The positive for the Australian side in their dig out in the middle was injury-plagued Shane Watson’s timely 47 off 36 balls (including three towering sixes) and the dynamic James Faulkner’s 41no from 33 balls.
Doug Bollinger had Reeza Hendricks caught behind on the third ball of the Proteas’ innings, but a 128-run second-wicket stand from Quinton de Kock (46) and debutant Rilee Rossouw (78) put the tourists in the driver’s seat.
Rossouw and de Kock fell in the space of three balls to upset South Africa’s impetus, but captain JP Duminy and David Miller comfortably picked off the remaining 16 runs needed.
Stud of the day
Rilee Rossouw is yet to fire in six ODI appearances for South Africa, but his Twenty20 international debut was something special. The Bloemfontein-born 25-year-old plundered seven boundaries and three sixes in his 78 from 50 balls, taking just 32 balls to bring up the half-century.
The contrast between the two international newcomers could not have been starker – Queensland star Nathan Reardon, dismissed for 4 in his maiden international appearance, dropped Rossouw in the third over. It was a regulation chance Reardon and the Aussies were made to pay dearly for.
The Australian Test team’s confidence has taken a battering at the hands of Pakistan in the UAE – their limited overs counterparts can ill afford to endure a similar drubbing on home soil from South Africa with the ODI World Cup only three months away. While this is a significantly under-strength side with the Test stars to still come back, several members of this current T20 team are expected to play key roles in the World Cup and need to stand up against quality opposition in the lead-up. The second Twenty20 international is on Friday at the MCG.
Rossouw’s swashbuckling Twenty20 international introduction was the fourth-highest score by a player on debut in the format. Ricky Ponting’s 98no against the Black Caps in the first-ever T20I in 2005 remains the best effort by a player on debut, while David Warner’s memorable 89 against the Proteas in 2009 ranks second and Canada’s Hiral Patel chalked up the third-highest debut innings with 88no against Ireland in 2010.