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Australia reigns in T20 cricket series

Sunday, March 16, 2014

CENTURION, South Africa - Mitchell Starc went for the throat as Australia made it five Twenty20 wins on the trot with a comfortable six-wicket victory over South Africa.

Starc helped restrict the Proteas to a total of 7-128 and quick-fire knocks from Aaron Finch and Shane Watson helped Australia chase the modest total down in 15 overs.

The tourists ended their tour of the Republic the same way it started — with a resounding triumph at Centurion.

Again it was a fiery opening spell from a left-armer named Mitchell that stood out.

The final contest of the three-match T20 series started with Starc's maiden over, the last ball of which thundered into Quinton de Kock's throat at almost 140 km/h.

De Kock recovered to score 41, but the Proteas wilted in front of a sold-out crowd at SuperSport Park.

Starc set the tone with a two-over opening spell that leaked three runs and featured the wicket of Hashim Amla, lbw for two.

The 24-year-old finished with figures of 2-16 from his four overs, while Glenn Maxwell and Brad Hogg also picked up two wickets.

Aside from de Kock, who fell in the 14th over to a fantastic Hogg delivery that turned sharply and reared unexpectedly, none of South Africa's batsmen passed 18.

In response, Finch flayed 39 runs from 27 balls and Watson (35 from 28 balls) whacked two towering sixes.

Imran Tahir dismissed both but, even with David Warner rested, the home side didn't have anywhere near enough runs.

Having accounted for England 3-0 and South Africa 2-0, Australia will take a truckload of confidence to the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh.

The side's quest to win the only major piece of cricket silverware to elude Australia starts next week against Pakistan in Dhaka.

Rain threatened to ruin Australia's entire three-match T20 series against South Africa, with the opening game in Port Elizabeth abandoned without a ball being bowled.

The contest in Durban was set to follow the same path but showers cleared to allow seven overs a side and Australia won a thriller by five wickets.

Centurion was lashed with rain in the week leading up to the final fixture, with ground staff dumping large clumps of sawdust in the most slippery parts of the ground — the same remedy used at Durban.

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