Agar bags hat-trick, five-for as Australia demolish shambolic SA in 1st T20
Ashton Agar’s eighth over hat-trick stunned a packed Wanderers into silence as Australia roundly thrashed South Africa by 107 runs in the first of three T20I’s.
After losing the toss and batting first, Australia marched to 196/6 before skittling the hosts for 89 in 14.3 overs.
It was a shambolic evening in all departments for Quinton de Kock’s side who were bowled out for their lowest total and suffered their heaviest T20 defeat.
It was also the third-lowest T20I total at the Wanderers
The top-order removal heavy lifting had already been done by Pat Cummins (2/13), Mitchell Starc (1/23) and Adam Zampa (2/9) before left-arm spinner Agar (5/24) twirled his own havoc.
His trio consisted of former captain Faf du Plessis (24), Andile Phehlukwayo (nought) and Dale Steyn (0) as South Africa’s already flimsy batting caved in.
Agar came back for Pite van Biljon (16) and Lungi Ngidi (one).
Proteas had already lost captain Quinton de Kock (two), Rassie van der Dussen (three) and Jon-Jon Smuts (six) to slump to 38/3 in six overs.
When struggling David Miller (2) was caught behind off Zampa SA were on 40/4 in 6.2 overs and 197 looked a long way away.
Then came the hat-trick that hastened proceedings from 45/4 to 45/7, ending the game as a contest.
There were embers of resistance from the stubborn debutant Van Biljon and the stylish Kagiso Rabada (22).
However, it was a batting performance that was devoid of substance and a directionless bowling display.
The wooden Open East Stand, which was rendered unusable and unsafe because of an earlier downpour, would have mounted a better showing.
A near capacity crowd deserved better, but Australia’s consummate batting and bowling display made up for the hosts’ utterly diabolical showing.
SA leaked runs like a sieve in the powerplay.
Australia lost bad-boy David Warner (four) to Dale Steyn to the second ball of the game, Steven Smith (45) and Aaron Finch (42) glided to a 28-ball, 50-run partnership for the second wicket.
That eventually realised 80 runs, but they were untroubled and didn’t really need to be violent.
Smith was missed by Steyn (2/31) at third man off Ngidi (1/37) without scoring, from where the supremely unorthodox but talented shot-maker eased his way through his innings.
There was little violence in the shot-making as Australia marched to 58/1 after five overs and 70/1 at the end of the powerplay.
The game needed Tabraiz Shamsi’s second intervention when he had Finch holing out to Du Plessis at long on two balls into the ninth over.
Shamsi (2/31) took the catch that got rid of Warner early and put the skids on Australia’s blazing start.
He also had Smith stumped off a leg-side wide at the start of the 13th over as Australia slowed down to 113/4.
An over earlier, Matthew Wade (18), who had a life on three when he was grassed at deep square-leg, picked out David Miller at deep mid-wicket off Steyn.
With Finch, Wade and Smith gone, they took their fluency with them but South Africa’s fast bowling remained as bedraggled as their fielding with 12 wides.
Mitchell Marsh (19) and Alex Carey (27) were able to raise a 50-run, fifth-wicket stand which ended soon after Carey was caught by Du Plessis at mid-off off Andile Phehlukwayo (1/35).
That alliance though had none of the grace and effortlessness of the partnership between Smith and Finch, but it ensured Australia didn’t quite waste their fast start.
There was a late flurry of runs and wickets, but there was a feeling that Australia made more than enough runs and it proved to be just that.