After a fortnight of torment and abject failure, Australia finally enjoyed some success in the international arena, whipping South Africa by seven wickets with more than seven overs to spare in the second Twenty20 clash at the MCG.
The hosts’ bowlers set up the comprehensive win, strangling the Proteas’ batting line-up to restrict them to a lowly 7-101 at the end of their 20 overs after the tourists chose to bat.
Pat Cummins (1-11 off 4 overs) and Cameron Boyce (2-15 off 4 overs) were the main protagonists in setting up the easy run chase for Australia, while James Faulkner claimed a team-high three wickets.
South African captain JP Duminy was the only player to post above 18 runs, but his 49 came off 51 balls – Geoffrey Boycott-like in T20 terms.
Australia made short work of the modest target; captain Aaron Finch was the standout with 44no off 30 balls, while Ben Dunks (23 off 20 balls) and Shane Watson (30 off 23 balls) played handy support roles.
Stud of the day
Besides conceding less than four runs an over, Cameron Boyce – making just his third T20I appearance – took the consecutive wickets of opener Reeza Hendricks and No.5 Farhaan Behardien, both stumped. The 25-year-old leg spinner’s twin strikes totally stalled any semblance of momentum the Proteas were gathering.
Doug Bollinger claiming danger-man Quinton de Kock caught behind on the second ball of the innings set the tone for a dominant Australian bowling display.
Following one unreservedly convincing win apiece, the keen rivals head to Sydney for the decider on Sunday ahead of the ODI series.
The Proteas only just eclipsed their lowest-ever T20I score – 100 all out against Pakistan in 2013.