Australia clinched the Twenty20 series against South Africa in emphatic fashion at Newlands on Wednesday, thrashing the home side by 97 runs in the winner-takes-all showdown.

In a lopsided encounter remarkably similar to the first of the three games between the teams, the tourists posted a challenging total before skittling their opponents.

Opening duo David Warner and Aaron Finch both made half-centuries as they powered Australia to 193-5 after being put into bat.

The Proteas – who managed just 89 when chasing 197 last Friday – lost captain Quinton de Kock early and never threatened in a reply that lasted just 15.3 overs.

Mitchell Starc claimed the key early breakthrough, bowling left-hander De Kock with the fourth ball of the innings, and also removed Faf du Plessis cheaply during the powerplay. The paceman finished with figures of 3-23, wrapping up the win by trapping Kagiso Rabada in front.

Ashton Agar also claimed three wickets, with the spinner coming close to recording a second hat-trick in the series after seeing off Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi with successive deliveries in the 15th over.

Tabraiz Shamsi survived to deny Agar another treble but South Africa did not last too much longer, bowled out for 96 – the lowest total posted in a T20I at the Cape Town venue.

They appeared set to be chasing well in excess of 200 when Warner (57) and Finch (55) were in full flow, the pair putting on 120 in 11.3 overs.

Australia rather lost their way after the well-set pair departed in quick succession, yet Steve Smith – who surprisingly came in down at number five in the order – benefited from a repreive when bowled by a Rabada no ball to make an unbeaten 30 in a hurry.

Starc's double strike had South Africa teetering and while Rassie van der Dussen (24) and Heinrich Klaasen (22) tried to repair the damage, the slow-bowling combination of Agar (3-16) and Adam Zampa (2-10) turned the screw. Fittingly, the impressive Starc landed the knockout blow.

The two teams now turn their focus to 50-over cricket with a three-match ODI series rounding out Australia's trip. The first match takes place in Paarl on Saturday.

Australia let a promising position slip as South Africa levelled the Twenty20 series with a 12-run win in Port Elizabeth.

The tourists crushed the Proteas by 107 runs in the opening game of their limited-overs tour on Friday, bowling their opponents out for just 89.

They appeared set to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series after restricting South Africa to 158-4 despite Quinton de Kock's 70.

However, they slumped from 98-1 midway through the 13th over to finish on 146-6, well shy of a target perceived to be below par at the halfway stage of the contest.

Steve Smith stole the show in South Africa's powerplay, despite the hosts powering to 59-0 thanks mainly to the efforts of skipper De Kock.

Smith produced an incredible piece of fielding in the sixth over, catching a shot over the deep midwicket boundary from De Kock and throwing it back across the rope before he hit the ground to prevent what looked a certain six.

De Kock struck five fours and four sixes but was eventually caught at long off as Australia fought back, Rassie van der Dussen's 26-ball 37 the other primary contribution as the Proteas' early impetus petered out.

David Warner (67 not out) and Australia captain Aaron Finch put on 48 for the first wicket in 4.4 overs before the impressive Lungi Ngidi (3-41) struck.

Warner and Smith appeared in cruise control, yet both could be considered guilty of not scoring quickly enough and the latter went for 29 off 26 balls when Faf du Plessis raced in from the boundary to claim an excellent catch.

Alex Carey fell to Ngidi for 14 as South Africa's death bowling came to the fore.

Ngidi claimed his third when Du Plessis produced more brilliance in the field, parrying a high shot down the ground to David Miller to remove Mitchell Marsh, though Australia still needed just 20 off the final two overs with six wickets in hand.

Yet Kagiso Rabada drew a leading edge from Matthew Wade at the start of the 19th, during which Warner spent just one delivery on strike. 

Australia required 17 off the final six balls but could manage only four, Anrich Nortje bowling Ashton Agar as South Africa completed a fine comeback to ensure the third and final match on Wednesday will be a decider.

Ashton Agar called his hat-trick against South Africa "a highlight of my cricketing life" as his heroics gave the tourists a flying start to their Twenty20 international series.

At the Wanderers in Johannesburg, left-arm spinner Agar was the unlikely chief destroyer as he finished with figures of 5-24 in a 107-run victory.

Australia made 196-6 before bowling out South Africa for a meagre 89 in the first of three matches between the teams in the shortest format.

Agar reduced South Africa from 44-4 to 44-7, and incredibly he almost took a second hat-trick later in the innings, only narrowly missing out on bowling last man Tabraiz Shamsi after taking wickets at the end of the 12th and start of the 14th over.

"It was really exciting, obviously a highlight of my cricketing life," Agar said at the post-match presentation, where he was named man of the match.

"But my job's made a lot easier when I've got Mitch Starc, Patty Cummins, Richo [Kane Richardson] and Zamps [Adam Zampa] doing the job before me."

Agar revealed he was not at his best before the match began, but thrashing 20 not out from nine balls at the end of Australia's innings must have set him right.

"It's funny, I was actually feeling horrible leading into the game," Agar said.

The man from Melbourne found it difficult to explain why the day proved such a personal success.

Trying to pin it down, he said: "I don't know... that self-belief at the top of the mark, to just let it all out and give it your best go.

"Obviously when the wicket turns a bit, you get a bit of assistance, your job gets a bit easier and you get on a roll and keep going."

Agar saluted captain Aaron Finch for the brilliant slip catch that clinched the hat-trick, removing Dale Steyn after the spinner earlier prised out Faf du Plessis and Andile Phehlukwayo to tease the big chance.

Finch appeared more thrilled than Agar as he charged off in celebration.

"Unbelievable catch, I think he really enjoyed it as well," Agar said. "He was halfway off the ground when I looked over.

"But great catch, great team performance, good game."

Australia spinner Ashton Agar grabbed a hat-trick as he stole the show in a thumping 107-run Twenty20 win over South Africa at the Wanderers.

Two years on from the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town, which saw both Steve Smith and David Warner banned from the game, much of the pre-match focus was on the Australia star batsmen.

The duo were returning to action in South Africa for the first time since playing a part in that plot and experienced distinctly mixed fortunes with the bat, before Agar rose to the occasion.

The 26-year-old Agar reduced South Africa from an already unsteady 44-4 to 44-7 in their response to Australia's 196-6, removing Faf du Plessis, Andile Phehlukwayo and Dale Steyn, and there was no way back from there.

He remarkably later went close to a second hat-trick, finishing with career-best T20 international figures of 5-24 as South Africa were bowled out for 89.

South Africa put Australia in after winning the toss in the first game of a three-match series. Captain Aaron Finch made 42 and former skipper Smith top-scored with 45 as four other batsmen made at least 18 runs each.

Matthew Wade (18), Mitchell Marsh (19), Alex Carey (27) and Agar (20 not out) kept the scoreboard ticking over at a rapid rate, with Lungi Ndidi (37-1) and Kagiso Rabada (45-0) taking a carting.

Warner went to the second ball of the innings though, Steyn having the left-hander caught at long leg off at top edge.

Like Australia, South Africa lost an opener in the first over as Mitchell Starc bowled Quinton de Kock with a delicious delivery. But unlike Australia, South Africa did not find the rest of their batting order quite so dependable.

Du Plessis showed a modicum of resistance as chaos ensued around him, but his own dismissal was the beginning of the end for the Proteas - and the start of something special for Agar.

A mistimed shot against the left-arm slow bowler found the safe hands of Kane Richardson, before Agar secured an lbw verdict to remove Phehlukwayo.

Steyn took a lusty swipe at the hat-trick ball but only managed to find an edge and Finch took a fine slip catch, the ball hurtling his way.

Agar later bowled 33-year-old South Africa debutant Pite van Biljon at the end of the 12th over and had Ngidi caught at long-on from the first ball of the 14th, meaning that outrageously he was on the brink of a second hat-trick in the innings.

He was a whisker away from bowling Tabraiz Shamsi, but the batsman survived. Adam Zampa had the final say, bowling Rabada, but it was resoundingly Agar's day.

David Warner is not expecting tensions to boil over when Australia face South Africa in a six-match limited-overs series.

The Proteas - captained by Quinton de Kock - take on Australia, who host the Twenty20 World Cup later in 2020, in three T20Is and three ODIs, starting on Friday in Johannesburg.

In an ill-tempered 2018 Test series against South Africa, Warner was suspended, along with Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft, for his involvement in the tourists' ball-tampering scandal.

However, Warner, who also became embroiled in sledging matches with South Africa fans, does not feel tempers will flare once again this time around.

He reasons that, due to the short and sweet nature of the tour, there is not enough time for the teams to forge a rivalry.

"It's one-day cricket and Twenty20 cricket and you don't really have much time over the short period of the time to get underneath each other's skin or anything like that," Warner told reporters.

"And you don't go out there to do that. Obviously, they [South Africa] had some heated exchanges with the English and that was during the Test matches.

"For us, our focus is on moving forward and trying to get the wins on the board and send a message to everyone that the World Cup is in our backyard and we want to be a team to be beaten."

De Kock, in particular, clashed with Warner during the 2018 tour, and South Africa's new white-ball captain is not as certain as Australia's batsman that there would be no bad blood between the sides.

"If something ignites, maybe if a player decides to take on another player, then maybe the fierceness from both teams will reignite again," de Kock said.

"Who knows? Maybe not. Maybe we just play the game hard."

When asked if he and Warner had brushed aside their differences, De Kock said: "We haven't really had any conversations. Me and him have moved on from there.

"We look to just play cricket. We both love to play the game really hard. I don't think anything will happen. We will just carry on. We won't worry too much about it."

Pat Cummins is determined to play a big role in Australia's bid to win the ICC T20 World Cup on home soil.

The vice-captain has featured in just 25 Twenty20 internationals but is optimistic he can be a key performer when the tournament is held in his homeland during October and November.

Cummins features in Australia's squad for the three-match T20 series against South Africa that begins on Friday in Johannesburg.

The paceman is coming off a sticky ODI series in January against India, taking just two wickets in three games at the cost of 161 runs.

Asked how he might look to improve, Cummins told Omnisport: "There's always lots of things. The good thing is we've got a T20 World Cup this year. I haven't played a lot of T20 in the last couple of years so I'm excited for that.

"We've got plenty of games to work out a few things, but there's always something to work on."

Cummins had an early introduction to international cricket, making his T20 and Test debut at the age of 18, before injuries disrupted his career.

Now 26, each year that goes by without a major injury setback is a blessed relief.

It means that when he looks back at the past 12 months, he can point to "fortunately, more highs than lows".

"Everything has gone to plan," Cummins said. "It's been brilliant to play as much as I have, but also I've been really happy with how it's all coming out and yeah, a few series wins, it's been nice."

"The more you bowl, the more confident you feel you can just concentrate on just trying to bowl well, rather than all these different things, so I've been really lucky. It's been a good run, some big series that I've been fully fit for, it makes a big difference."

Cummins says he would be open to captaining his country in the future if the opportunity arises.

"Potentially if it came up, but I don't think that now is a time to talk about it," Cummins said. "We're in great form, the Test side, after a pretty much flawless summer and bringing back the Ashes, so we'll talk about it down the track."

The St Lucia Zouks have been sold to K.P.H Dream Private Cricket, a group of investors with extensive experience in high-profile cricket, the Caribbean Premier League has announced.

Tom Curran held his nerve at the death as England levelled the Twenty20 series against South Africa in dramatic fashion at Kingsmead.

A high-scoring contest went down to the wire as the Proteas, chasing 205 to move into an unassailable 2-0 lead, needed three from the last ball - the same task England had failed to achieve in the opening game.

Once again, the bowling side managed to escape with the victory, Bjorn Fortuin only able to paddle a slower delivery from Curran to the hands of the back-pedalling Adil Rashid at short fine leg.

Having started the final over needing 15, Dwaine Pretorius followed up a six with a cover-driven four to reduce the equation to five off three.

A scampered two tipped the balance even further in favour of South Africa, yet Curran dismissed Pretorius lbw before deceiving new man Fortuin with a clever change of pace.

The finish was in keeping with an eventful game that ebbed and flowed throughout. England were indebted to a fast start and a devastating finish as they made 204-7, only for Quinton de Kock to produce a one-man onslaught during the powerplay.

South Africa's limited-overs captain had smashed eight sixes to make 65 from just 22 balls, the last of which saw him swing a high full toss from Mark Wood out to Ben Stokes on the deep midwicket boundary.

Temba Bavuma (31), David Miller (21) and Pretorius (25) made contributions and Rassie van der Dussen finished up unbeaten on 43, but the Proteas came up narrowly short.

England, meanwhile, live to fight another day, with the result setting up a winner-takes-all showdown at SuperSport Park on Sunday.

They had posted their sixth highest T20 total after being put into bat, despite losing the dangerous Jos Buttler for just two. Jason Roy followed up his knock of 70 on Wednesday with 40 at the top of the order, while Jonny Bairstow belted 35 from just 17 deliveries.

Yet it was Moeen Ali who played the crucial hand. Having arrived at the crease with the innings wobbling slightly at 125-5, he was the catalyst for a late blitz of boundaries that yielded 79 runs from the final five overs.

The all-rounder hit four sixes, including one extraordinary sliced drive over point from a Lungi Ngidi full toss, in an 11-ball knock of 39, while Stokes made his highest T20 score at international level as he finished on 47 not out.

England captain Eoin Morgan believes the team's one-run defeat to South Africa was a "great game to play in" ahead of the T20 World Cup.

South Africa handed England an agonising loss at Buffalo Park, where the Proteas prevailed in an astonishing finish in the first T20 international on Wednesday.

England – chasing 178 – needed seven runs from seven balls but the tourists fell short as Morgan holed out to long on before a stunning final over from Lungi Ngidi (3-30) saw him remove Tom Curran and Moeen Ali.

Adil Rashid required three from the last delivery for victory but he could only manage one as Dale Steyn and captain Quinton de Kock combined for a runout.

Despite the loss, Morgan was upbeat with the T20 World Cup on the horizon – the 20-over tournament scheduled to get underway in October.

"I definitely think we could've [found an extra run or two], I thought particularly during the chase we were in a very commanding position," Morgan, who scored 52 runs, told Sky Sports.

"We never through a cluster of losing wickets, Jason [Roy] and myself established a partnership quite well with the new guys coming in and with the short boundary one side, we never really looked flustered - probably until Ngidi came on in the 18th and probably the last over that he bowled turned the came on its head.

"Even in a position needing seven off the last over with new guys coming in, we'd have expected to win that game.

"It's a great game to play in because you get a feeling of where guys are at, they're put under pressure, you get to see what skill-level they produce, how their temperament is. So in terms of actually improving in that position, I think it is great for us."

Ngidi dazzled in the first of three T20's in East London and the South Africa paceman does not plan on relinquishing his spot in the team.

"We know that there are a lot of fast bowlers fighting for a spot so you've got to be on your A game," he said afterwards, with the Proteas able to call upon Steyn, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada and Sisanda Magala.

"If you're not quite there, someone else is going to come in and do the job you're supposed to be doing. I don't plan on letting anyone take my spot so I am just going to keep playing as best as I can."

South Africa defeated England by one run after an astonishing finish to the first T20 international at Buffalo Park.

Chasing 178, England looked poised for victory after Jason Roy scored a rapid 70 and captain Eoin Morgan added a vital 52 that included some clutch late boundaries.

The tourists only needed seven from the last seven balls but Morgan holed out to long on to set up a tense finale before a tremendous last over from Lungi Ngidi (3-30) saw him remove Tom Curran and Moeen Ali.

Adil Rashid was left needing three from the final delivery for victory or two to force a super over, but he could only manage one as the returning Dale Steyn and captain Quinton de Kock combined for a runout that sparked joyous scenes in East London.

Earlier, South Africa were well set for a huge total before England recovered to limit them to 177-8.

Roy's superb innings – which saw him become the country's first player to score three consecutive T20I fifties - took just 38 balls with seven fours and three sixes as Morgan's men made a strong start to their reply.

Morgan appeared ready to put the finishing touches on a strong run chase but a dramatic conclusion meant it was South Africa who took a 1-0 lead in the three-match rubber, with their opponents finishing agonisingly short on 176-8.

England are now in danger of losing their first T20I series since July 2018 and this morale-denting defeat was an unwelcome start to a year that builds towards the T20 World Cup in October.

Sohail Tanveer is confident he can force his way back into the Pakistan side and make a big impact at the T20 World Cup in Australia.

The left-arm paceman has not played for his country since April 2017, but remains as driven as ever to showcase his talents on the international stage.

Tanvir was the leading wicket-taker when Northern won the National T20 Cup late last year and is determined to catch Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq's eye with a fruitful Pakistan Super League campaign for Multan Sultans.

Mohammad Hafeez, 39, and Shoaib Malik, 38, have recently been recalled by Misbah and 35-year-old Tanvir believes his skill and experience can also be invaluable for Pakistan.

The quick told Omnisport: "I feel that if you don't have the inspiration to play for your country there is no point in playing cricket.

"I started playing when I was seven or eight years old with the dream of playing for my country, that gave me inspiration and I worked hard, made it and played for my country.

"I have always wanted to play well and show my worth. Unfortunately for around two and a half years or so, I didn't play for Pakistan but I'm still inspired to do that and the PSL is going to be key not only for me, but many players trying to play for Pakistan.

"The T20 team is not settled at the moment and the places are pretty much open, so I'm still fancying my chances."

Tanvir says the appointment of Misbah to replace Mickey Arthur has given him renewed hope of wearing the famous green shirt once again.

He added "The mindset is different, Mickey came with a different mindset and approach, he was just giving chances to youngsters.

"On his behalf fair enough, I won't argue about it but Misbah has a different mindset. We have seen more experienced players such as Shoaib Malik and Hafeez coming back into the team, that means age is not an issue and anybody can get a chance.

"That is how it should be, if someone is doing well. You want to win games for your country, it doesn't matter if you are 35 years old or 20 years old, the motivation is to win the game.

"If someone comes into the game with a lot of experience and still wins you games, that is a plus-plus for you instead of youngsters coming in with no experience.

"We all know the pressure of playing T20 cricket, things change very quickly and you have to make instant decisions. Having that experience gives you more confidence in yourself.

"I've not been playing international cricket, but I've been playing in high-quality leagues very close to the level of international cricket. I believe I can serve my country well again.

"The T20 World Cup is in sight this year and there is one next year as well, so I'm fancying my chances.

"I'm right on top of my game, fitness-wise and performance-wise I'm pretty much there, PSL is the key now.

"I had a conversation with Misbah and he was pretty much clear, as other key people have said, we will be looking at PSL, then check on fitness and performance."

Dale Steyn has been included in South Africa's Twenty20 International squad to face England and Quinton de Kock will captain the side in the three-match series.

Steyn has not played for the Proteas since last March, but the paceman is set to return against Eoin Morgan's side.

De Kock was named as permanent ODI skipper ahead of the ongoing series with England and will also lead his country in the shortest format, as Faf du Plessis has been granted an extended period of rest.

Kagiso Rabada has also been given extra time off after being rested for the ODI series, which South Africa lead 1-0 with one match to play at the Wanderers on Sunday.

Uncapped batsman Pite van Biljon and seamer Sisanda Magala were included in the squad for a T20 series that gets under way with a day-night contest at Buffalo Park, East London next Wednesday.

Magala's participation is dependent on him passing a fitness test. 

Cricket South Africa acting director of cricket Graeme Smith said: "We are pleased with the group that we have selected for this upcoming T20 series against England.

"We have once again taken the opportunity to reward some of the hard workers of our domestic franchise system while some of our key senior players continue with their much-needed rest period and we have again, put our faith in Quinton to lead this group of exciting cricketers, picking up where he left off in India where he showed exemplary leadership."

He added: "With a T20 World Cup not too far away, we have begun the process of identifying several players whom we will be looking at over a period of time and hope that by the time September comes along, we will have the best possible squad of 15 representing South Africa."

 

South Africa squad: Quinton de Kock (captain), Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Pite van Biljon, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, JJ Smuts, Beuran Hendricks, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi, Sisanda Magala, Bjorn Fortuin, Dale Steyn, Heinrich Klaasen.

Marcus Stoinis and Nick Larkin shared a brilliant 117-run partnership to fire Melbourne Stars into the Big Bash League final with a convincing 28-run win over Sydney Thunder.

The Stars topped the regular-season table but were battered by Sydney Sixers in last week's Qualifier.

However, they will get a shot at redemption in Saturday's showpiece after winning the Challenger on home turf at the MCG with Stoinis and man of the match Larkin each hammering 83 in an imposing score of 194-2.

Stoinis' knock saw him break the record for the most runs in a single BBL season and, despite Alex Ross putting on 45 and 58 with Chris Morris and Arjun Nair, the Thunder could only muster 166-8 in reply with Haris Rauf (3-17), Nathan Coulter-Nile (2-29) and Adam Zampa (2-43) doing the damage.

STOINIS AND LARKIN MAKE THUNDER TOIL

It has been a BBL season to remember for Stoinis, whose 695 runs so far betters the 637 accumulated by D'Arcy Short last term.

There were seven fours and three sixes from the Australia limited-overs international from his 54 balls, and he made the most of being dropped down the leg side by Jay Lenton.

While Stoinis was eventually bowled by Morris, Larkin was unbeaten come the end of a brutal 49-ball knock in which he clubbed three straight over the ropes and recorded another nine fours.

 

RAUF AND CO. FINISH THE JOB

The Thunder had already seen dangerman Alex Hales (8) run out and Usman Khawaja (23 off 15) bowled by Coulter-Nile after a promising start by the time Rauf tempted captain Callum Ferguson (7) into a misguided waft that sailed to wicketkeeper Seb Gotch. 

Needing partnerships, Ross – whose knock of 58 included three fours and as many sixes – was combining well with Morris before the latter was bowled by the brilliant Rauf.

The writing was on the wall even before Ross and Nair each fell to Zampa in the 17th over and Rauf claimed one more for his personal tally from the final set of six when Lenton picked out Nic Maddinson at deep midwicket.

Jofra Archer will miss England's Test tour of Sri Lanka after it was confirmed the paceman has sustained a low-grade stress fracture to his right elbow.

The lightning-quick seamer missed the final three matches of England's four-match Test series in South Africa and was already ruled out of the ODIs and Twenty20 fixtures against the Proteas.

Archer underwent further tests on his injury this week and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed he will not travel to Sri Lanka in March.

"Archer underwent further scans on his injured right elbow yesterday in the UK which confirmed a low-grade stress fracture," an ECB statement read.

"He will now commence an injury rehabilitation programme with the ECB medical team with a view to be ready for the international summer campaign starting in June against the West Indies in a three-match Test series."

The 24-year-old will also miss the 2020 Indian Premier League season with the Rajasthan Royals as a result of his injury.

England will hope to have Archer back for the three-match home Test series against the West Indies, which starts on June 4 at the Oval. 

Joe Root's men play two five-day matches in Sri Lanka, the first beginning on March 19.

Eoin Morgan says Alex Hales could still make an England comeback, but it will take time to repair a "breakdown in trust" with the team.

Hales was dropped last year, a month before England's triumphant Cricket World Cup campaign on home soil, after he was reportedly handed a 21-day ban for what was described as an "off-field incident".

The batsman has not played for his country since but has been in sparkling form with the bat for Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League in Australia.

Morgan stated that Hales' international career may not be over just yet, with the T20 World Cup coming up in Australia this year, but the England captain indicated that it may be a while before the 31-year-old is considered.

Asked if Hales could make an international return, he told Sky Sports: "Yes, absolutely.

"Alex is in fantastic form for Sydney Thunder at the moment but his form has never been a question about him coming back into the squad

"What happened prior to the World Cup last summer was a complete breakdown in trust between Alex and the team.

"The way back in for Alex is to try and rebuild that trust and that takes a considerable amount of time. We are in that time at the moment."

Meanwhile, Tom Banton, Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson could make their ODI debuts in the first game of the three-match series against South Africa on Tuesday.

With Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes rested, Morgan says those who are given a chance against the Proteas must grasp it with both hands. 

"I think we use ODIs as a great opportunity to build strength in depth throughout our squad," said Morgan.

"This series, as a starting point, will see guys come in and make their debuts and give people opportunities to stake a claim for positions that have been cemented for some time now.

"One of our strengths going into the last World Cup was competition for places and guys in those positions becoming not just very good England players but world-class international players."

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