Marcus Stoinis took Australia home with a match-winning 24 not out under pressure to beat South Africa by five wickets and open the Super 12 stage at the T20 World Cup on Saturday.
Stoinis won the Group 1 game and the first meeting of heavyweights at the tournament with a four over midwicket, taking Australia to 121-5 with two balls to spare and past what appeared to be an easy victory target of 119.
It wasn't so straightforward, though, as South Africa showed late fight, inspired by a flying catch by Aiden Markram at wide mid-on to dismiss Steve Smith for 35.
Tabraiz Shamsi bowled Glenn Maxwell next over — as Maxwell tried to switch hit — and Australia had some late jitters at 81-5 in the 16th over.
The equation came down to 18 off the last two overs. A composed Stoinis eased the pressure with a four off Anrich Nortje in the second-last over, also over midwicket, and hit two boundaries in the last over off Dwaine Pretorius.
The result flipped the recent form book after Australia had lost its last five T20 series and South Africa had won its last three.
Australia's morale-boosting victory, which gives it a crucial winning start to a tough Super 12 group, was set up by a disciplined bowling performance that gave nothing away and restricted the South Africans to 118-9 in its 20.
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