Australia continue perfect ICC World Twenty20 campaign with eight-wicket win over South Africa
Last Updated: 01/10/12 11:32am
Shane Watson: Top scored with 70 and took two wickets
Shane Watson was again the star performer as Australia claimed an eight-wicket victory in their Super Eight clash with South Africa at the ICC World Twenty20.
Watson scored 70 from 47 deliveries as Australia maintained their perfect record in the tournament by chasing down a target of 147 with more than two overs to spare in Colombo.
While the 2010 runners-up now look sure to reach the semi-finals, South Africa's hopes of progressing to the last four were left hanging by a thread after they were convincingly outplayed.
After being put into bat the Proteas suffered a torrid start and although they recovered to post a total of 146-5 from their 20 overs, Australia always had the run chase under control.
Xavier Doherty did most of the damage with the ball as he returned figures of 3-20, while Watson complemented his all-round performance by taking two wickets as well.
Doherty reduced South Africa to 8-2 in the third over - Richard Levi somehow playing inside the line to be bowled leg-stump for a duck and then Jacques Kallis edging behind to go for six.
It would have been 16-3 had Michael Hussey managed a direct hit from point to run out JP Duminy by yards.
But Watson saw off Hashim Amla (17) with his medium-pace and doubled up with another big wicket - AB de Villiers caught at cover for 21 - when he returned for a second spell.
It was therefore only a late flurry from Robin Peterson (32 not out) and Farhaan Behardien (31no), in an unbroken stand of 60, that kept South Africa competitive.
Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn put the pressure on when Australia came out to bat, with Warner responding to three tight overs by making room to hit Morkel but failed to make contact and was bowled middle-stump for five.
Australia did not manage a boundary until Kallis replaced Steyn for the fifth over, and Watson immediately cut him for four.
The destructive opener then did not put a foot wrong until he mishit Peterson on 52 but escaped as Wayne Parnell could not quite hold a tough catch, diving in from wide long-off.
Watson, who smashed eight fours and cleared the ropes twice, eventually holed out off Peterson at long-on to end a stand of 99 with Hussey (45no).
But South Africa still never came close to victory and must now hope that India beat Pakistan to keep their hopes in the tournament alive.