CAPE TOWN: Hashim Amla made a career-best 97 not out as South Africa made a competitive 178 for four in the series-deciding third and final Twenty20 international against Australia at Newlands on Wednesday.
Amla hit eight fours and four sixes in a 62-ball innings. It was the highest score by a South African in a Twenty20 international against Australia and the highest individual score at Newlands.
Amla and Quinton de Kock got South Africa off to a fast start, putting on 47 for the first wicket before De Kock was caught at third man off Nathan Coulter-Nile for 25 off 13 balls.
The six-over power play yielded 68 runs but the scoring rate slowed when the fielding restrictions were lifted, with leg-spinner Adam Zampa conceding only 23 runs in a four-over spell.
Zampa should have had the wicket of Rilee Rossouw, with Glenn Maxwell putting down a straightforward catch on the midwicket boundary when the batsman had made three of his eventual 16 runs.
South Africa chose to bat first on a ground where the average total for teams batting second in floodlit games was 154.
Amla, making his first appearance in the series, replaced AB de Villiers in one of three changes in the South African team.
Left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso was not included in the South African team despite having his bowling action cleared in an independent test, after failing a similar test ten days earlier.
Coach Russell Domingo said Phangiso needed more time to work on and gain confidence with the adjustments he had needed to make.