Morkel's South Africa stun Australia

South Africa twice came back from forlorn positions to defeat a new-look Australia by three wickets in a thrilling opening to the one-day international summer at the MCG tonight.

Led by Albie Morkel, who made a match-winning 40 off only 18 balls, the Proteas capitalised on a well-chosen batting powerplay to plunder 18 runs off the 48th over, bowled by Ben Hilfenhaus, to steal a remarkable victory with three balls to spare.



Morkel delivered the final twist in a thrilling match which Australia had for the large part appeared destined to win.



The Proteas needed 50 off the final five overs but, aided by the powerplay, Morkel and Johan Botha carved a match-winning 51-run stand off only 35 balls.

After reaching an imposing 271 for eight, built largely on half-centuries from Shaun Marsh and David Hussey, the Proteas lost early wickets and were in big trouble when Jacques Kallis departed with the score on 90 for three in the 19th over.

But a 123-run stand between the irrepressible Jean-Paul Duminy and the hitherto out-of-form Neil McKenzie returned the momentum to the Proteas before Duminy's dismissal for 71 triggered another swing.



The Proteas lost four wickets for eight runs in less than three overs to slump to 221 for seven before the older Morkel brother and Botha put the Australians to the sword.



The pair were aided by a pair of costly misfields from Shaun Tait and Nathan Bracken.



Tait's error gifted Morkel a boundary when only one should have been conceded, while Bracken's stumble allowed the Proteas to grab an extra two runs.



That came moments after Bracken had conceded 13 runs in the 47th over, which finished with a massive six from Morkel.



It was a devastating finish for the Australians, who until the final few overs were about to celebrate a win of substance.



Five of their less experienced players had been responsible for putting the home side in control.



Marsh, Hussey and to a lesser extent Cameron White made valuable contributions with the bat, before Hilfenhaus and Tait made important breakthroughs with the ball.



That pair had removed Herschelle Gibbs and Hashim Amla with the new ball then dismissed McKenzie and Mark Boucher during the Proteas' stumble.



Australia were also helped by a charitable fielding performance from the tourists.



Vaughn van Jaarsveld gave lives to Ricky Ponting and Hussey, and McKenzie reprieved Marsh.



Ponting and Hussey were the two most costly.



Ponting was dropped on 33 and lived to make 46, while Hussey's life enabled him to make 52 at better than a run a ball to lift Australia's run rate towards the end of their innings.



But Morkel's heroics at the death ensured the Proteas would not pay the ultimate price.



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific