Brad Hodge steers Aussies in thrilling seven-over game against South Africa

South Africa v Australia - 2nd T20 International

With inexorable rain and dark clouds looming at large, it looked as though it was going to successive washouts in the T20 series between South Africa and Australia. But, the rain finally relented and some quick work by the ground staff meant that we finally had a T20 game, albeit a seven over one. And it was the Aussies who came out on top as they won by 5 wickets with two balls to spare, to take an unassailable 1-0 lead into the third T20 on Friday.

By the time George Bailey won the toss and elected to field, the rain meant that there were massive patches of sawdust on the pitch. With the Proteas struggling at 11-1 after 3 overs, it looked as though Bailey’s decision was going to be vindicated. But some clean hitting from both Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis meant that Australia needed 81 runs off just seven overs to claim victory.

With 21 runs off the first over by L Tsotsobe, Australia looked like they were cruising to victory. David Warner continued his fabulous form from the Tests into the T20s and helped Australia to 44 off just three overs. But two good overs, first from Wayne Parnell, which cost just four runs, including the wicket of Shane Watson, then a double blow by JP Duminy who removed both Warner and Maxwell meant that the Proteas were in the driving seat with just two overs to go.

At that time, the Proteas skipper turned to debutant Beuran Hendricks to bowl the penultimate over with 28 runs at hand. It was a decision that changed the game, as the debutant, who had already conceded 18 in his first over, conceded 13 more to leave just 15 to get of the final over. And with just two singles of the first two balls, it looked as though Parnell was going to get the Proteas home. But, back-to-back sixes by Brad Hodge sealed the deal for the Aussies who won with two deliveries to spare.

Earlier on, after a slow start, de Kock and du Plessis showed the value of building a partnership as the pair added 69 of the final four overs to set a commanding total for the Aussies. But for Warner’s blitz at the start and Hodge’s experience at the end, the Proteas might yet have won it. In the end, they were left ruing the 16 dot balls that they faced in their innings and will be looking to level things up at Centurion on Friday.

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