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Brad Hodge hit two sixes in the last over as Australia clinched a five-wicket win in a helter-skelter second Twenty20 international against South Africa at Kingsmead on Wednesday.
In a match reduced to seven overs a side after heavy rain, Australia needed 15 in the last over to chase down South Africa’s 80 for one. Thanks to Hodge, they achieved it with two balls to spare.
Only two runs came off Wayne Parnell’s first two balls but Hodge launched the third and fourth deliveries over midwicket for six before Parnell bowled a wide to gift Australia the winning runs. Hodge’s innings of 21 not out off eight balls won him the man of the match award.
Hodge’s last-gasp effort trumped hard-hitting innings of 41 not out by South Africa’s Quinton de Kock and 40 by Australia’s David Warner.
South Africa made a slow start after being sent in on an under-prepared pitch which offered enough seam movement to make batting tricky. Hashim Amla made only four off nine balls and the score limped to 11 for one after three overs.
But De Kock hit four sixes in a 20-ball innings as he and skipper Faf du Plessis enabled South Africa to reach 80 for one. Du Plessis hit two sixes in making 27 not out off 13 balls.
Warner carried on in the form which earned him man of the series honours in Australia’s Test series win over South Africa as he lashed 40 off 16 balls with two sixes and five fours.
Australia seemed on course for an easy win as Warner and Aaron Finch hit 21 off the first over of the innings, bowled by Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
But five wickets fell in quick succession before Hodge took Australia to a win which was more about entertaining a large crowd than providing meaningful preparation for both teams before they head to the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh next week.
“You can’t look too much into a seven-over game,” said Du Plessis. “We didn’t expect to play.”
Australian captain George Bailey praised veterans Brad Hogg, who conceded only five runs in his only over, and Hodge, whose domestic form earned him an international recall.
“We knew it was going to be a short game so it was good to see our guys switched on,” said Bailey.
The win gave Australia a 1-0 lead in the three-match series after the opening encounter in Port Elizabeth was rained off.
The final match is in Centurion on Friday.