Saturday, March 28, 2009


Albie Morkel and Mark Boucher trumped a virtuoso performance by David Hussey as South Africa scrambled to a four-wicket win over Australia in the first Twenty20 international at the Wanderers Stadium on Friday.Hussey cracked an unbeaten 88 off only 44 balls and took two for 21 with his off-spinners to earn the man of the match award. But it was not enough to secure a win for his team in the opening encounter of a two-match series.Hussey, younger brother of Test batsman Mike, dominated an Australian innings of 166 for seven and it looked as though it would be enough when South Africa slumped to 83 for five in the 13th over.But Morkel and Boucher added 58 off 33 balls to swing the momentum in South Africa's favour.The big-hitting Morkel slammed 36 off 22 balls before he mis-hit Mitchell Johnson high to mid-off where David Hussey held a good catch.South Africa still needed 26 off 17 balls but Boucher saw them home, finishing with 36 not out off 22 balls. Seven were needed off the final over, bowled by Brett Geeves, and Boucher hit the first two balls to the midwicket boundary to clinch victory with four balls to spare."In this game you never really know," said Australian captain Ricky Ponting. "There was some very good hitting by the South Africans at the end. David Hussey was magnificent but we came up a bit short with the ball."

While Hussey enabled Australia to post a reasonably competitive total, his team-mates assisted him in only two partnerships of any significance.Hussey and opener David Warner (38) put on 54 for the third wicket and Hussey added 45 with Cameron White (16) for the sixth wicket.Australia suffered a severe jolt when three wickets fell for one run in the tenth over.Warner fell to a sharp return catch by left-arm spinner Robin Peterson and Mike Hussey was run out by a direct hit from South African captain Johan Botha after turning the first ball he faced behind square leg.After David Hussey scored a single, Brad Haddin was caught at long-off for a duck. Peterson finished with three for 30.Hussey timed the ball superbly in hitting five fours and six sixes.Herschelle Gibbs got South Africa off to a fast start, hitting 19 off 12 balls, but drove Geeves' first ball in a Twenty20 international to Ponting at cover.Wickets fell steadily and the scoring rate slowed until Morkel and Boucher came together.A key over was the 17th of the innings, in which James Hopes conceded 21 runs, with the left-handed Morkel hitting the first three balls for 4, 6, 4.

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