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QANTAS T20 TOUR OF SOUTH AFRICA 2016

Finch makes opening statement in Durban

05 March 2016

World's No.1 T20 batsman puts hamstring injury worries behind him with whirlwind 18-ball 40 a timely reminder of his prowess

Aaron Finch has returned to cricket in spectacular fashion in Australia's first T20 International against South Africa at Kingsmead.

Saturday morning's match against South Africa was Finch's first since he injured his hamstring in Melbourne five weeks ago, and his first since being replaced by Steve Smith as T20 skipper last month.

Finch returned to the top of the order to partner the left-handed Usman Khawaja, with David Warner entering at first-drop ahead of Smith at No.4 as Australia sought to extend the left-right combinations.

The 29-year-old Victorian looked trouble free as he smashed four sixes and two fours in his whirlwind 18-ball 40, including 24 runs from one over by JP Duminy.

But he will look back and rue his dismissal, holing out to paceman Kagiso Rabada at cow corner off Imran Tahir's first delivery – a looping shin-high full toss.

Before departing for South Africa with the Australia squad, Finch said he had shaken off the disappointment of being stripped of Australia's T20 captaincy and was ready to fight for his spot at the top of the order.

"There's potentially four guys that can open the batting in that squad," Finch said.

"Whoever gets first crack in the side is going to have to perform and try and sure up their spot.

"It's one of those things that you're never quite sure which way the selectors will go.

"I've performed pretty well in Twenty20 cricket for a while now for Australia.

"Whenever guys are in great form, and definitely Usman and Watto (Watson) and Davey (Warner) have been in great nick as well, there's going to be that pressure regardless of who it is, regardless of how many runs they've scored.

"It's just a case of putting another case forward and whichever way they do go at the start of the series I'm sure there'll be challengers breathing down their neck."

Finch top-scored for the tourists to set a target of 158, but the Proteas, led by David Miller's rear-guard fighting half-century, ultimately victorious by three wickets in the final over.

About the Writer

 @samuelfez
@samuelfez

Sam Ferris is a writer for cricket.com.au. He started in 2011 as a Big Bash League correspondent and continues to monitor the domestic scene and national sides closely.

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