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South Africa claim easy series win

Johan Botha once again had Australia licked as he led South Africa to a second straight Standard Bank Pro20 victory, by 17 runs at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Sunday.

Botha certainly seems to have the Australian batsmen's number as he took two for 16 in four outstanding overs to restrict the visitors to 139 for eight in reply to South Africa's 156 for five.

Australia looked on course to square the two-match series as they reached 56 for two after eight overs, but Botha then brought himself on and Australia were suddenly 65 for four after 11 overs.

Botha's wise use of changes of pace saw him bowl Michael Clarke for 27 and have Cameron White caught at long-on for 23.

Just to prove South African cricket sings a different tune these days when it comes to using spinners, Roelof van der Merwe chipped in with the key wicket of David Hussey for 27 and Robin Peterson bowled two tidy overs as well.

Once Botha had finished his spell, Australia were 106 for six after 16 overs and there was no more hope for them.

The other debutant, Yusuf Abdulla, removed Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain making just a single before he was caught behind off just his third ball.

Johann Louw picked up two wickets in the final over and South Africa will go into the five-match one-day international series in high spirits.

Earlier, Van der Merwe was able to tear into the Australian attack on debut and lead South Africa to 156 for five.

One of Centurion's favourite sons was the hero as he rescued a struggling South African innings with his 48 off just 30 balls.

Van der Merwe, called up after excellent form in two domestic Pro20 seasons, scored all around the wicket and cheered a sell-out crowd with two fours and four sixes.

Australia had won the toss and sent South Africa in, and the visitors had an early scare when Herschelle Gibbs once again cut loose, scoring 19 off 13 balls before a slower ball from Nathan Bracken killed his fun.

AB de Villiers was also an early victim, bashing a drive off Ben Laughlin to White at extra cover to depart for a duck at the end of the next over.

Opener Peterson survived some crude slogs and was just beginning to build some momentum as he reached 34 off 27 balls before James Hopes crashed a full delivery into his stumps.

JP Duminy was bowled by Shane Harwood for 23 and South Africa entered the last five overs on 96 for four.

The pressure did not get to young Van der Merwe though and he batted through to the 18th over before Albie Morkel (14*) and Mark Boucher (9*), the heroes of the Wanderers win, put the finishing touches to the innings.

Harwood made an impressive comeback after the lashing he took in the first game, and will be delighted with his figures of two for 21 in four overs.

Bracken, the most celebrated of the Australian bowlers, was off-colour and suffered under a furious onslaught from Van der Merwe in the 16th over, 23 of the 44 runs he conceded coming in that flurry.

Van der Merwe's giant-slaying act lasted till Harwood's return, the batsman gloving a catch to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

But the 24-year-old showed that the wait for him to be chosen for the national side has been well worth it.

source - supersport.co.za
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