Aussies fade after Warner brilliance
A mesmerising display of raw power and clean hitting from debutant opener David Warner guided Australia to 9 for 182 in its Twenty20 clash against South Africa at the MCG.
Warner dazzled a capacity Melbourne crowd with an incredible innings of 89 runs from 43 deliveries, plundering the Proteas bowlers with reckless disregard to register six sixes and seven fours.
The 22-year-old southpaw from New South Wales repaid the faith of Australia's selectors, who took a gamble on a youngster with only limited one-day and Twenty20 experience and no first-class games to his name.
Warner's clean hitting to all parts of the ground - an array of powerful drives, cuts and pulls dashed with a selection of cheeky chipped strokes - took him to 50 runs from his first 19 balls.
South Africa's captain Johan Botha then brought himself into the bowling attack to stem the flow of runs, and his off spin did well to quell Australia's attacking intent with Warner briefly subdued.
Warner ended his scoring lull with an authoritative drive over the long-on boundary, and continued steadily with a ton in his sights before holing out to AB De Villiers in the deep from the bowling of Makhaya Ntini.
The youngster walked off to a rousing ovation from an appreciative Melbourne crowd, but was clearly disappointed at falling short of the chance to eclipse the fastest ever Twenty20 International century - a feat achieved from 50 balls by West Indies' blaster Chris Gayle in 2007.
The departure of Warner, who has already been signed up to the lucrative Indian Premier League by the Delhi Daredevils, slowed the run rate somewhat, which had been up around 10 as Australia reached 1 for 101 after 10 overs.
With Warner gone and Australia travelling comfortably at 4 for 140 at the end of the 14th over, South Africa clawed its way back into the match to restrict Australia to 5 for 42 from its final six overs.
Mike Hussey's stay at the crease lasted just eight balls when he was run-out by returning South African Herschelle Gibbs, but Hussey had done well to defuse Ntini's hat-trick ball following the dismissals of Warner and David Hussey.
James Hopes (13) Cameron White (7), Luke Ronchi (11) and Nathan Bracken (1) and were all out cheaply, while skipper Ricky Ponting added a valuable 21 from 19 balls following opener Shaun Marsh's dismissal for 9.
Dale Steyn enjoyed the best figures for South Africa with 3 for 38 from his four-over spell as Albie Morkel (2 for 30), brother of Test pacemen Morne Morkel, and Ntini (2 for 40) took two scalps apiece