Mitch Marsh’s incredible start to his captaincy at Twenty20 hasn’t surprised Australian fast bowler Sean Abbott.
Marsh hit an unbeaten 79 of 39 balls, including six sixes, and led Australia to a comfortable eight-wicket win over South Africa with 31 balls remaining in Durban on Friday night (Saturday morning AEST).
48 hours earlier, Marsh clinched a 92-0 win in Australia’s impressive 111-run win in the opening game of the three-game series at Kingsmead, where Australia led 2-0.
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The Proteas were powerless to subdue Marsh, who hit 168 runs for 86 balls in the series without being fired.
“I think the way he’s playing in the park is exactly how he’s been playing for such a long time,” said Abbott, who was named player of the game after being the best with the ball T20I career with 3:22.
“You have to give Mitch credit for being a pretty even-tempered personality, especially in a group.
“He hasn’t changed at all since he took over as captain, even though he’s only played two games and has only been on tour for a week.
“It’s not at all surprising that he’s doing really well and succeeding in his first two games as captain.
“It’s really nice to see because he’s such a great person, such a good team player and really cares about the people around him.”
Marsh had wonderful support from flawless opener Matt Short, who scored 60 points in his second international game, netting more than two balls.
The pair’s 100-run second wicket tally was Australia’s best in T20Is against South Africa and came despite less friendly batting conditions than the first game.
“The pitch tonight suited the bowlers,” Abbott said.
“It might not have looked like it when we were hitting, but that speaks volumes for how these guys are hitting at the moment.”
After Tavemba Bavuma shot 35 of South Africa’s first 36 runs in the first three overs, Abbott’s introduction to attack turned the game in Australia’s favour.
He dismissed the rampant Bavuma in his first over and Proteas captain Aiden Markram (49) in his last over.
Abbott has adapted quickly to South African conditions, having recently played both red and white ball cricket for Surrey in England.
“It may take some adjustment, but my job is to bowl,” he said.
“When I’m at the top of my goals, I just have to go out there and make it happen.
“I’m quite used to it – it’s part of playing cricket 12 months a year.
“It’s something I really enjoy.”