Australia win the humdinger to level series
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Event:South Africa in Australia 2008/09

DateLine: 18th January 2009


Ben Hilfenhaus was given the task of keeping South Africa at check and prevent them from crossing the line of victory. He had before him a pugnacious Boucher and a marauding Morkel, 17 runs to defend. Hilfenhaus kept his cool, even though he was smashed for a huge six to help Australia close out South Africa. The batting Powerplay had helped South Africa to win the previous encounter while this time the Australians seemed better well-prepared to deal with the onslaught that would take place in the crucial five overs. Jacques Kallis compiled a useful half-century and AB de Villiers chipped in with 44 on a tricky surface offering variable pace and bounce, but the calm pursuit did not include the required amount of urgency until another dramatic conclusion.


Sent in after Johan Botha won the toss, half-centuries from Shaun Marsh and Ricky Ponting set Australia's platform, but the rest of the order was unable to move them towards a huge total and they posted a subdued 9 for 249.


Marsh scored 78 off 103 deliveries in a watchful innings that was essential to Australia's target-setting. Marsh impressed with cut shots and drives as he collected nine boundaries. After losing David Warner early, Marsh stepped up the pace and was much more comfortable than his captain. He was in sight of a century when he was dismissed. Ponting struggled in the early stages as he continued to battle in between some streaky shots and boundaries. Once settled he gained speed and his half-century took 56 balls, but he didn't stay much longer and was out pulling Kallis to fine leg.


The pitch was uncomfortable at times due to some variable pace and bounce and after 15 overs the Australians were 66. They lifted the rate dramatically over the next 10 overs, were slowed by the South African spinners, disrupted when Ponting and Marsh left and took their Powerplay in the 40th at 3 for 190. Only 23 runs were added in the next 30 balls and the dismissal of Michael Hussey was followed by Cameron White's. David Hussey, Brad Haddin and James Hopes all failed to fire during the slog overs and Australia could manage just 249 at the end of their stipulated 50 overs.


South Africa in reply lost Amla in the seventh over with only 15 on board. Gibbs and Kallis tried hard but the run rate never rose above the 3 run mark. Gibbs was never allowed to free his arms and Kallis though was bound up managed to find the occasional boundaries. Gibbs after several frustrating attempts finally lost his head and was caught trying for a big hit. Kallis and de Villiers added 93 and at no stage did they look like going for the big shots. Both were contend to push for the singles and the doubles and when a loose offering came they gleefully accepted it. With the unused batting Power play in their kitty and knowing fully that it would come in handy both the batsman were contend in keeping the scoreboard ticking with singles.


The breakthrough for Australia came when he failed to keep his cut down and was picked up by David Hussey. What they didn't expect was the run out of de Villiers and the task remained out of reach despite the final flurry. JP Duminy and Neil McKenzie could not break free and the required rate was almost nine when McKenzie played-on to the debutant Harris. Hilfenhaus stood out, taking two wickets before he was punished at the end, while Nathan Bracken showed his experience at the start and finish. South Africa left their Powerplay to the 45th over and accelerated to the point where they needed 17 from the final over off Ben Hilfenhaus. Mark Boucher launched a six to long-on and eight were wanted from the last two deliveries, but they could only rush two singles.



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