By Anmol Pundir

In a low-scoring opening match between Australia and South Africa, Australia defeated South Africa by 5 wickets.

Josh Hazelwood for his bowling performance of picking 2 wickets for 19 runs was given the man of the match award.

It was an opening match between Australia and South Africa at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, and Australia who opted to bowl began with a banging wicket of skipper Temba Bavuma in the second over.

It was not only Bavuma’s wicket which they got early in the innings but kept on getting South African caps at regular intervals. It was Aiden Markram’s 40 run innings that helped South Africa to get to a total of 118 in 20 overs. Abu Dhabi’s pitch was predicted to be slow with low bounce but a total of 118 was projected to be a below-par score on this pitch,
that too against mighty Australians.

Pat Cummins, Josh Hazelwood, and Adam Zampa’s hard lengths didn’t let Africans be ever in the game.

South Africa came into bowling with a well-laid bowling plan and didn’t have to wait too long to strike the first Australian wickets.

Anrich Nortje in the second over bowled an outside off short of a length ball and got Aaron Finch at third man. South Africans had strategic fielding options while bowling which led them to pick wickets of David Warner and Mitchell Marsh in the 5th and 8th over. A target which was easy to get a target for Australians seemed to be a hard one, but in form Maxwell and Steve Smith were determined to get their team to that target.

Smith had hit a four to Nortje’s over and Smith again went to hit a good length ball to long-on and an absolute stunner catch by Markram added astonishing energy in South African camp and Shami’s wicket of Maxwell indicated that Africans are not letting go of this match so easily.

Australia were 81 for 5 in 15 overs when Stoinis and Wade came into bat. Two new batters at the pitch were what South Africa needed and began building pressure on Australians, but it wasn’t going to be easy for Africans to do it. Stoinis and Wade did not only rotated the strike but got the required boundaries as well, and got off the target in 19.4 overs.

Australia now has 2 points in their bag. India will play against Pakistan on 24th October.

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