Australia sweeps T20 series 3-0 with 5-wicket win over South Africa. Head hits 91

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DURBAN, South Africa (AP) — Australia's openers had mixed fortunes Sunday — Travis Head hit a 48-ball 91, Matthew Short was out for a golden duck — as the visitors beat South Africa by five wickets to sweep the Twenty20 International series 3-0.

Led for most of the way by Head, who smashed six sixes and eight fours in his match-winning innings, Australia finished at 191-5 in 17.5 overs in reply to South Africa's 190-8.

This was the closest of the three games at Kingsmead after Australia crushed South Africa in the opener by 111 runs and won the second T20 by eight wickets.

“We certainly weren't as polished with the ball and in the field as what we had been in the first two games, so that made it a little bit more stressful,” Australia coach Michael Di Venuto said. “But it was a total that we chased down really well.”

South Africa chose to bat first and its respectable score saw three players dismissed in the 40s — opener Reeza Hendricks (42 runs in 30 balls), captain Aiden Markram (41 in 23) and Donovan Ferreira (48 off 21). Ferreira hit five sixes before he was run out in the last over.

Pace bowler Sean Abbott took 4-31 in four overs and allrounder Marcus Stoinis returned 2-39 for Australia.

After losing Short on the first ball of its chase, Australia slipped to 43-2 as South Africa claimed the key wicket of Mitch Marsh, whose previous scores in the series were 76 not out and a career-best unbeaten 92 in the first T20. Gerald Coetzee (2-36) had the Australia captain caught by Bjorn Fortuin for 15.

Coetzee and Fortuin (2-36) reversed catching and bowling roles to claim Josh Inglis for a 22-ball 42 but Australia was already taking control at 128-3 in 11.1 overs.

Fortuin also claimed Head — caught by Temba Bavuma — when the Australians were five runs short of victory.

Stoinis finished 37 not out and hit the winning run off Coetzee with 13 balls to spare.

South Africa and Australia play the first of five one-day internationals on Thursday at Bloemfontein in the lead-up to the Cricket World Cup, which starts Oct. 5 in India.

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AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket