Australian win their shortest-ever T20 game

ROB FORSAITH
Last updated 09:41 13/03/2014
Hashim Amla
Reuters
LATER MAN: South Africa's Hashim Amla leaves the field after getting out.

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Brad Hodge joked after his recall to the national Twenty20 side that it took Jesus three days to rise after death, while it had taken the 39-year-old some six years.

In his third T20 international since, Hodge crashed two sixes in the final over to lift Australia to a miraculous five-wicket win over South Africa in Durban.

Play was due to start at 5am NZ time on Thursday, only for rain to delay the action for two and a half hours and reduce the game to seven overs a side.

Hodge showed exactly why he was recalled for the T20 World Cup, belting consecutive sixes as Australia chased down their target of 81 runs with two balls remaining.

The tourists brought up the winning runs when Wayne Parnell sent down a wide after Hodge's lusty hits, finishing 5-82 after they scampered through for a run.

"I had to get the ball over the fence a couple of times to win the game," Hodge said of his thoughts as he started the final over with Australia 15 runs short of victory.

"Anytime when you get to put yourself under pressure, it's good."

Hodge, batting at No.6, was the ice-cool finisher after David Warner put his side on track for victory with a dashing knock of 40 from 16 balls.

"That's my role. I'm just here to complement those guys up the top, use my experience and it all worked out in my favour today," man of the match Hodge said.

"Hopefully I can keep doing it."

The fact Hodge (21 not out) and Brad Haddin (four not out) - both quite capable of clearing the rope - were the men in the middle at the death gives a fair indication of how strong Australia's batting order is.

"The hits just keep on coming," Hodge said, less than two weeks before the start of the T20 World Cup.

"There's a lot of power hitters ... it looks a pretty decent side."

The Proteas finished 1-80 from their seven overs, Faf Du Plessis (27no) and Quinton de Kock (41no) sharing an unbeaten 74-run stand.

George Bailey opted to field first in the shortened match that featured one-over spells from the visitors' bowlers with the exception of Nathan Coulter-Nile (1-17 from two overs) and Mitchell Starc (0-24 from two overs).

Proteas coach Russell Domingo paid tribute to Hodge, saying he was worried the veteran would produce such a clinical, clean-hitting display.

"We've seen him win numerous games in the IPL for a good number of years now," Domingo said.

"We know he's an outstanding finisher and very calm under pressure. That's why he's back in the Australian side.

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"We knew he was the guy that we probably needed to stop in the last few overs."

- AAP

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