Australia completed a series whitewash against South Africa when they hammered the home side in the third and final T20I in Durban on Sunday.
South Africa succumbed to Australia’s brute force in what was a series whitewash that marked a painful start to the season.
With the T20I series already won 2-0 by the Australians with one match remaining, the famous South African fighting spirit was eagerly awaited in the final match of the series in Durban on Sunday afternoon.
Leading up to the final match, the Proteas had been dominated by the visitors and the only thing left to do was for the Proteas to redeem themselves and entertain what was a sold-out Kingsmead Stadium.
“(The fans were) fantastic. Regardless of the weather, they’ve been here and packed-out Kingsmead for us,” Markram said.
“From our side, we haven’t put in the performances we would’ve liked to but it’s great to see fans come out and still support us and support the country.” He added.
South Africa needed a perfect start to the innings having won the toss and chose to bat first, but to the spectators’ disappointment, the home team had the worst of starts when Temba Bavuma was caught by surprise by a Marcus Stoinis delivery which stuck to the surface forcing Bavuma to play at it.
The ball hit the higher part of Bavuma’s bat and lobbed towards Travis Head at backward point and the former T20I captain was headed back to the dugout with 19.4 overs left in the innings.
His demise brought debutant Matthew Breetzke at the crease and the stylish batter got off the mark with a boundary off the bowling of Stoinis. It wasn’t a fairytale debut for the Gqeberha-born batter as he was undone by Stoinis looking for an unnecessary boundary so early into his innings.
In came Markram, joining Reeza Hendricks at the crease with the score on 12/2 three overs into the match.
Markram quickly went on the attack, taking Sean Abbott apart and swiftly reached way 41 runs off 23. Abbott had the last laugh though as he enticed Markram into hitting over extra-cover only to find the safe hands of Ashton Turner.
Markram struck two sixes and four boundaries in his innings, but just couldn’t hang on to see South Africa to a big enough total to challenge the powerful Australian batting unit.
Hendricks (42, 2×4’s and 2×6’s) and Tristan Stubbs (25, 1×4, 2×6’s) took South Africa to 122/5 and left the job to the only recognised batter left in the line-up in debutant Donovan Ferreira.
Known for his fearlessness and his extraordinary rise to professional cricket, ‘The Don’ certainly lived up to expectations.
The 25-year-old muscled his way to 48 off 21 including five sixes and a one boundary, registering an impressive strike rate of 229.
Because of Ferreira’s knock, South Africa posted 190/8, a far better total than any of the scores they have posted in the entire series.
“You have to give credit to how a guy like Donovan played on debut, to come out and take the game on, that’s what we’re after. That was good to see,” said Markram.
“To get to 190 as a total is… I suppose you always take it. We could’ve been better but with 190 we were pretty much happy with it at the interval.” He added.
But it wasn’t meant to be for South Africa as Australia wrapped up a T20I series whitewash.
Despite Markram’s first-ball strike to remove the dangerous Matthew Short, the Australians were able to power hit their way to 191/5 and win the match by five wickets.
It wasn’t Short nor Mitchell Marsh who brought the carnage upon the Proteas bowlers on Sunday, instead it was the left-handed Travis Head.
When Marsh (15 off 12) failed, Head took it upon himself to see Australia home. The left-hander smashed 91 runs before falling to Bjorn Fortuin.
But the damage was already done, and the match was already safely in the Australians’ hands to win.
“We’ll work in trying to get better and make them more proud.” said Markram.
South Africa: 190/8 (Ferreira 48, Hendricks 42, Abbott 4/31, 2/39)
Australia: 191/5 (Head 91, Inglis 42, Fortuin 2/36, Coetzee 2/36)