Mitch Marsh's incredible display on captaincy debut as Aussies make T20 history

The new Australian captain was at his brutal best as Australia beat South Africa by a record margin in the first T20.

Mitch Marsh, pictured here in the first T20 between Australia and South Africa.
Mitch Marsh played a brilliant knock in his debut as Australia's T20 captain. Image: Getty

Mitch Marsh has led Australia to their biggest-ever T20 win over South Africa, celebrating his debut as Aussie captain with a blistering knock of 92 not out off 49 balls. Marsh was at his brutal best and Tim David made 64 off 28 as Australia posted 6-226 while batting first at Kingsmead on Wednesday night (Thursday AEST).

South Africa were bowled out for just 115 in 15.3 overs, with debutant spinner Tanveer Sangha (4-31) and Marcus Stoinis (3-18) doing the damage. Spencer Johnson was expensive on debut (2-33 off 3.3 overs), but he fought back to claim two late wickets, including the prized scalp of opener Reeza Hendricks for 56 off 43 balls.

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Australia's 111-run victory was their biggest ever in a T20 against South Africa, bettering the 107-run win they achieved in Johannesburg in 2020. Their total of 226 was also the highest for a T20 international at Kingsmead, bettering England's 4-218 against South Africa in 2020.

Tim David and Mitch Marsh, pictured here in action for Australia against South Africa.
Tim David and Mitch Marsh blasted South Africa in the first T20. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

"It's always nice to start a three-match series with a win, and my job is to score runs, so it was nice to get a couple," Marsh said after winning the man-of-the-match award in his captaincy debut for Australia.

"I thought Tim David was fantastic, the way he batted took the pressure off me. It was a really good partnership, and he batted beautifully."

The Aussies lost Travis Head for six off the third ball of the innings, but Marsh immediately went bang as Australia moved to 1-45 after just 2.3 overs. Marsh blasted Lizaad Williams (3-44) out of the ground and into oncoming traffic in the fifth over.

Australia were in cruise control at 1-69 in the fifth over, but lost Matt Short (20 off 11), Josh Inglis (1) and Marcus Stoinis (6) in quick succession as the visitors slumping to 4-77. But David and Marsh combined for a 97-run partnership to steady the ship and take the Aussies to a mammoth total.

Tanveer Sangha stuns on T20 debut for Australia

Marsh then opted to open the bowling with Stoinis, and it proved a masterstroke. The all-rounder dismissed Temba Bavuma in an over that cost just one run.

Sangha was introduced into the attack in the seventh over with South Africa at 2-53, and snared his maiden T20 scalp with his sixth ball when Aiden Markram struck him straight to backward point.

Sangha sent Dewald Brevis and Tristan Stubbs packing in consecutive deliveries in the eighth over, and South Africa's victory hopes were all but over. "Amazing. He's done that in the Big Bash and for NSW for the last couple of years," Marsh said of Sangha.

"He's a fantastic young talent. To come in and do that, he's got great character, and he's going to fit right into international cricket."

The 21-year-old Sangha wasn't originally picked in the playing XI, but Adam Zampa was a late withdrawal due to illness. It meant Australia had four debutants for the series opener - Aaron Hardie, Johnson, Short and Sangha.

Zampa is expected to be fit the second game of the series, but Sangha's stunning debut means Australia now face a welcome selection dilemma. Australia entered the series without Pat Cummins (wrist), Mitchell Starc (groin), Steve Smith (wrist), Glenn Maxwell (ankle), Josh Hazlewood, Cameron Green and David Warner. The white-ball tour of South Africa comes ahead of the ODI World Cup in India in October.

with AAP

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