Travis Head has powered Australia to an impressive Twenty20 series clean sweep over South Africa with his highest ever score in the shortest format of the game for his country. The clean-hitting Aussie star belted an eye-catching 91 runs off just 48 balls to help lift Australia to a five-wicket victory.
The hosts had set Australia a respectable 8-190 in the third and final match of the T20i series at Kingsmead, but Head's blistering knock lay the platform for the Aussies to chase down the victory target with 13 balls to spare. Josh Inglis (42 off 22 balls) and Marcus Stoinis (37no off 21) provided crucial cameos for the visitors but it was Head who stole the show with an exhibition of power hitting.
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The 29-year-old bludgeoned six sixes and eight fours to easily surpass his previous best score of 48no in T20is for Australia. Head had posted scores of just 18 and six in the first two matches but came to life in the third match to send the Proteas an ominous warning ahead of the upcoming one-day international series between the two teams.
Travis Head thrilled with career-best T20 score for Australia
Head was given a life on 55 when Temba Bavuma dropped a tough diving attempt to catch the Aussie out and he made the home side pay for the missed opportunity. Bavuma eventually got his man with a catch in the deep, but Australia only needed five more runs for victory by that stage - wrapping up the series sweep with relative ease.
"It's nice to be back and contributing," Head told Fox Cricket. "There's been limited opportunities in this format for a while.
"I'd been struggling a little bit to find my tempo and how I wanted to go about it at the top. I spoke to a few boys, and it was nice to contribute tonight."
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) September 3, 2023
WHAT A MAD KNOCK BY TRAVIS HEAD...!!!
He smashed 91 runs from 48 balls against South Africa in run chase in 3rd T20I match, he kill this run chase - PHENOMENAL, TRAVIS HEAD. pic.twitter.com/DxYwm7Jx3P
— CricketMAN2 (@ImTanujSingh) September 3, 2023
What an innings by Travis Head!
91 in 48 balls 8 fours and 6 sixes. It's been a wonderful last 15-18 months for Head, scoring runs for fun everywhere. What a talent! pic.twitter.com/XsSqlQtHy6
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) September 3, 2023
If you don't get Travis, Travis gets you!
Travis Head this year:
70 Vs SA( Test)
90 Vs Ind
163 Vs Ind
50 Vs Eng
77 Vs Eng
77 Vs Eng
51* Vs Ind(ODi)
91 Vs SA( T20i)
-Scored 50+ runs 8 times in 25 innings.
-All the big innings have come against top four teams. pic.twitter.com/GhhNbwtTra
— Rafi Sikder (@rafi_sikder17) September 3, 2023
Sean Abbott stars with the ball again
Man-of-the-match in game two, Australia paceman Sean Abbott was again the hero with the ball in game three after snaring career-best figures of 4-31 to restrict South Africa to a total under 200. The Proteas slumped to 2-12 in the third over, but crucial digs from captain Aiden Markram (41 off 23 balls), Reeza Hendricks (42 off 30) and Tristan Stubbs (25 off 16) helped steady the ship.
Donovan Ferreira (48 off 21 balls) provided some late fireworks after South Africa had slumped to 6-122 on the back of a middle-order slump of 3-6. Abbott claimed a double-wicket maiden to inspire the middle-order collapse, while Stoinis (2-39) did the early damage before copping a pummelling late on.
Spinner Tanveer Sangha, who snared 4-31 on debut in the series opener before being squeezed out for game two, should have had a wicket in his first over. Hendricks was on 18 when he was struck on the midriff by a Sangha delivery.
The ball bounced down and hit the base of leg stump but the bails stayed in tact after incredibly not moving a centimetre. Sangha ended the match with figures of 1-39, while Nathan Ellis (0-50) copped the brunt of South Africa's onslaught, especially when Ferreira was at full force.
Aussie skipper Mitch Marsh - courtesy of his two match-defining half centuries in the first two matches - was understandably named player of the series. Marsh plundered 186 runs from 100 balls across his three innings in a stunning start to his reign as captain.
"I'm really proud of a pretty young group coming over here and winning the series 3-0," Marsh said. "We had a great team effort. We prepared really well, and we took the game on. We had a bit of luck at times, but as a team we had the mentality of being really positive."
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