South Africa showed tremendous character to make a comeback and win the 2nd T20I in a tense finish after being totally blown away by the rampaging Aussies in the 1st T20I match. With the series on line ,the Protea bowling attack managed to suffocate Australia in their last 5 overs to win the game by just 12 runs after the Aussies at one stage appeared to be cruising when Warner and Smith were batting. With a modest target to chase , Warner (67) and Smith (29) ran hard between wickets and hit crisp boundaries as Australia looked well on course to take the series in this game itself . However with the ball getting softer and the Protea pace bowlers using the slower cutters to great effect, the boundaries dried up after Smith’s exit . Leggie Shamsi bowled very tightly giving just 16 runs in middle 4 overs and in the last 5 overs ,the fast bowlers bowled tight as wickets tumbled for Australia with Carey, Wade and Marsh unable to provide the late innings momentum as only 30 runs came in last 5 . Ngidi got 3 wickets in quick time and 20 runs were needed in last 2 overs but Rabada in the 19th and Nortze in the 20th over gave just 3 and 4 runs respectively to squeeze down the scoring and won the game for South Africa to level the series with 1 to play at Cape Town. Nortze once again showing his ability to soak the pressure as he has done so many times in his debut England test series while Rabada is a class act . Also it must be said that the home team got their bowling attack finally well sorted by playing their 3 best avaliable fast bowlers accross formats — Rabada, Nortze and Ngidi. If Ngidi remains fit for tests then probably this set of bowlers were operate in Tests as well.
Earlier Quinton Decock once again proved that he is far ahead of his teammates in terms of batting pedigree . With in form Bavuma nursing an injury , Decock once again exhibited dazzling strokeplay hitting 4s and 6s with effortless ease and grace as he made a mockery of a Australia’s formidable bowling attack consisting of Starc and Cummins ,two of the leading fast bowlers accross formats. Van Dussen scored a belligerent 37 but scoring became tougher as the innings approached the middle and end overs like Australian innings and finally South Africa managed 159 after it looked that 200 was a possibility when Decock was pounding boundaries in first half of the innings. The South African captain scored 70 off just 47 balls including 4 sixes on a slowish pitch and this innings was the main difference in this match that won him the man of the the match award.
Another highlight of South Africa innings in today’s game was the fielding prowess of Steve Smith who was outstanding in the deep position making few impossible saves.
While South Africa needs their middle order batting to contribute more, Australia is missing the firepower of a Maxwell at the back half of their batting as both teams continue their process to iron out their shortcomings in this format before the World Cup in October.