Tail-enders do the trick for South Africa

Australia

The Proteas were pretty much dead and buried headed into the final five overs of Sunday's second Twenty20 International, until Wayne Parnell and Rusty Theron pulled off a remarkable partnership to undo Australia's inexperienced attack.

The Proteas were pretty much dead and buried headed into the final five overs of Sunday's second Twenty20 International, until Wayne Parnell and Rusty Theron pulled off a remarkable partnership to undo Australia's inexperienced attack at the Wanderers.

Uniting at a desperate 84 for seven in the face of a seemingly indomitable 148-run target after their top- through middle-order had cobbled together collective failure, Parnell and Theron orchestrated cool, calm and collection en route to their unbeaten 64-run alliance from just 27 balls – a South African record for the eighth wicket in T20I cricket.

Cashing in on Pat Cummins' wayward approach, Doug Bollinger's poor length and Steven O'Keefe's lack of turn, the dashing duo shared six fours and three sixes, the last of which sealed an unlikely win with five deliveries to spare.

In the tourists' defence, the pitch offered little aid for the bowlers after offering a testing nature during the home side's turn with the ball. Meanwhile, they sorely missed the services of their star death bowler after Shane Watson was ruled out of the match with a minor hip injury.

While Theron finished on 30 not out from 16 balls and landed the Man of the Match award for his all-round performance after picking up two key wickets during some economical figures earlier in the match, Parnell ended unbeaten on 29 from 11 balls and must be credited for the way he shepherded his team-mate through the pressure overs. Both men fetched the highest scores of their respective T20I careers.

Revenge was indeed sweet for Hashim Amla's men, who on Thursday went down to Cameron White's posse in the series opener at Newlands in Cape Town.

Earlier David Warner endured his second duck on the trot, White got his side back on track, Lonwabo Tsotsobe picked up some superb figures and Morne Morkel copped some belated expense at the hands of debutant Mitchell Marsh as the Aussies seesawed to 147 for eight.

Warner, coming into the series on the back of consecutive centuries in the Champions League Twenty20, again flattered to deceive in holing out to mid-off.

White's aggressive 39 and fellow right-hander Marsh's three sixes off Morkel's last over triumphed on either side of a convincing couple of spells from southpaw seamer Tsotstobe, whose four overs went for just 11 runs and sniped the scalps of Matthew Wade and Steven Smith.

The teams will now prepare for a three-match ODI series, after which the real deal – comprising two much-anticipated Tests – commences.

<I>Jonhenry Wilson</i>

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