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Morkel magic sees South Africa to victory

Published: Saturday, March 28, 2009, 10:13 [IST]
 
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Morkel steers South Africa to victory

Johannesburg: Powerful boundary-hitting from Albie Morkel and Mark Boucher in the last five overs of the innings Friday took South Africa to a four-wicket victory with four balls to spare over Australia in a Twenty20 cricket match.

South Africa finished on 168-6 in reply to Australia's 166-7 to go 1-0 up in the two-match series. The second game will be played at Centurion on Sunday.

South Africa was struggling at 105-5 after 15 overs, but Morkel unleashed a string of boundaries in the next two overs to lift the total to 141-5.

Morkel departed for 37 off 19 balls, caught by man-of-the-match David Hussey after going for another big hit off Mitchell Johnson. Morkel hit four fours and two huge sixes.

Boucher then took up the fight, and got his side home by hitting two fours off the first two balls of the final over bowled by debutant Brett Geeves. The Proteas wicketkeeper, after a slowish start, finished with 36 not out off 22 balls with five fours.

The 58-run partnership in five overs between Morkel and Boucher was South Africa's most vital.

Geeves started well by bowling Herschelle Gibbs for 19 with his first ball in a Twenty20 international, and he also bowled A.B. de Villiers for 7 to finish with 2-35.

Off-spinner David Hussey was also effective, darting in plenty of full deliveries which the Proteas found difficult to score off and taking 2-21.

Earlier, David Hussey smashed 88 not out off 44 balls to guide Australia to a defendable total. He smacked five fours and six sixes after coming to the wicket with the score on 16-2.

The only other Australian batsman to make a meaningful contribution was opener David Warner, who hit four fours and a six to score 38.

Australia lost some impetus in the middle of its innings, losing three wickets in the 10th over, bowled by left-arm spinner Robin Peterson. Off the first ball, Peterson held a low return catch from Warner. Michael Hussey was then run out for 0 by a direct hit throw to the bowler's end from Johan Botha, and Brad Haddin was caught at deep mid-off for 0 by Morkel off the over's last ball.

David Hussey kept the scoreboard ticking along, as Australia took 32 off fast bowler Dale Steyn's last two overs at the end of the innings.

Peterson took 3-30 and Wayne Parnell claimed 2-29 after bowling Michael Clarke for 0 in the second over of the innings.

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