ABU DHABI (UAE) -- Marcus Stoinis, Australia's former T20 player, resurrected Australia's flagging form with a match-winning 24, not out of pressure to win a five-wicket win against South Africa in Saturday's Super 12 stage of the World Cup.
Stoinis won Group 1 and the first meeting with heavyweights at tournament with a four-over midwicket. This took Australia to 121-5, with two balls left. It also gave Australia a victory target of 119.
Although there were some nervous moments for the Aussies during their chase, South Africa did a great job defending its pathetic total of 118-9. The victory that opened the campaign was timely and uplifting for an Australian team who had lost five T20 series and was in a rut at the World Cup.
Stoinis, who needed 18 runs in the final two overs, eased the pressure by scoring a four off Anrich Nortje's same midwicket. To take Australia home, he hit two boundaries in his last over alongside Matthew Wade (who was 15 not out).
Aaron Finch, Australia captain, stated that the dugout was likely a lot more relaxed than I was. "But Stoinis, Wade kept their cool." This is what experience can do.
Josh Hazlewood took out Rassie van den Dussen in good form with his first ball. Quinton de Kock was next in an odd moment. De Kock attempted to deflect it finely down legside but the ball looped off his bat and fell onto his stumps. He was confused at its whereabouts.
Adam Zampa swung out Dwaine Pretorius and David Miller in the 14th over, while South Africa at 82-6 dragged itself up to 118 in its 20-overs. Aiden Markram was top-scoring with 40 runs from 36 balls.
Maxwell and Steve Smith (35), shared a run/a-ball partnership that was 42. Australia was leading at 80-3 when the game's complexion changed in four deliveries.
Markram made a spectacular catch wide mid-on, running, diving full length and holding onto two hands to win Smith's dismissal. Tabraiz Shamsi was next to bowl Maxwell (18). Maxwell tried to switch hits one too many and Australia's nerves began to set in.
Stoinis, however, was composed and won a decisive opening victory in the Super 12 group, which also includes defending champion West Indies and England as well as Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.
The semifinals will be decided by the teams that finish in the top 2 of the Super 12 groups.