South Africa on Sunday defeated Australia by 12 runs in Port Elizabeth to square the three-match T20I series with a game to go. Quinton de Kock, who played a captain’s knock of 70 runs off 47 balls was declared the Player of the Match.

Chasing a competitive target of 159 runs, opener David Warner with his unbeaten 67 off 56 balls failed to take Australia home as they could score only 146/6 in their stipulated 20 overs.

Ngidi, who returned figures of 3 for 41, gave South Africa the breakthrough by dismissing Australian captain Aaron Finch in the fifth over. Warner and Steve Smith were then unable to accelerate the run rate and the latter eventually fell for 29 to Dwaine Pretorius.

Warner looked to shift gears but hardly found a partner at the other end with Alex Carey, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade and Ashton Agar all falling without troubling the scorecard too much.

Earlier, choosing to bat first, de Kock powered the Proteas to 158 for 4 in 20 overs. While the first over produced just four runs, the southpaw got the hosts off to a flier after that and they were 59/0 at the end of the powerplay. However, after this the Aussies managed to control the hosts’ run rate and saw their post a competitive target on the board.

For the guests, Kane Richardson was the standout performer with figures of 2 for 21 in 4 overs.

The two teams meet next on Wednesday for the decider T20I in Cape Town.

Brief scores: South Africa 158/4 (Quinton de Kock 70, Rassie Van Der Dussen 37; Kane Richardson 2/21) defeated Australia (David Warner 67 not out, Steve Smith 29; Lungi Ngidi 3/41) by 12 runs.

(With inputs from IANS)