Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis on Saturday said the key to getting his side over the line in a nervy run chase against South Africa in their T20 World Cup 2021 Super 12 opener was keeping cool under pressure. (More Cricket News)
Stoinis struck a vital 24 not out from 16 deliveries and formed a crucial unbeaten partnership of 40 with Matthew Wade in the final 26 balls to see Australia home with five wickets and two deliveries to spare in pursuit of the Proteas' 118/9.
Josh Hazlewood was the pick of the bowlers for Justin Langer's side as Australia picked up wickets at regular intervals to limit South Africa's progress despite the best efforts of Aiden Markram, who made 40 from 36 balls.
“The main thing for me there was trying to stay as calm as I can and for a Greek-Australian, that’s pretty hard,” said Stoinis, according to the ICC.
“You saw a bit of emotion come out towards the end, but the main thing is Wadey and I were just communicating, trying to sort out who was going to bowl each over and making a plan and then staying calm from there.”
Australia had slipped to 38 for three in reply before Steve Smith and Glen Maxwell navigated the middle overs with a partnership of 42. Both departed in the space of three balls but Stoinis and wicket-keeper Wade kept level heads to get the runs required but the former admitted it was not always easy going out in the middle.
“It is what we expected to an extent but it was quite hard to get under the ball because it was skidding on quite a bit and wasn't too quick,” Stoinis said. “I guess partnerships are the key, building partnerships and getting used to the conditions while you are out there. It's one thing having a plan but you've also got to work things out on the fly while you are out there.
“We saw through the IPL the scores weren't as high as they have been in the past and that might be a trend that we see through the World Cup.” Stoinis insisted it was important for his side to start the tournament with a win to set the tone for the campaign.
“I think it's important to start tournaments like this on the right foot, it's obvious you want to win but in these short tournaments, no matter how you win, it's always a better feeling when you wake up the next morning,” he said.
“Hopefully, it's a good sign for things ahead.” South Africa captain Temba Bavuma lamented his side's failure to post a par score despite playing an extra batter. “It was definitely not a par score, it's a bit hard for me to say (how many more runs were needed) because we really didn't bat well barring Aiden (Markram),” he said.
“It definitely didn't go to plan from a batting point of view but maybe anywhere near 150 or 160 would have been competitive.
“We went with the option of an extra batter expecting the wicket to be a good one but if you are selecting six batters with an all-rounder at seven and scoring 118 then I don't think you can exactly blame the plan.”
He said from a batting point of view, there was a lot the side could have done differently and they will be looking to correct the mistakes in the next game.