Australian cricketer Marcus Stoinis has said that he had to “control” his Greek emotions while leading his side to victory in a nerve-jangling ‘Super 12’ game against South Africa in the ICC T20 World Cup here on Saturday night.

Stoinis, who is an Australian of Greek heritage, underlined his ‘finisher’ credentials in the tense five-wicket win against South Africa in the final over, scoring 24 not out and putting together an unbeaten 40-run partnership with Matthew Wade (15 not out).

With skipper Aaron Finch, David Warner and Mitch Marsh departing and Australia, chasing 119 for victory, being reduced to 39/3 after eight overs, things became difficult. And with the well-set batters, Steve Smith (35) and Glenn Maxwell (18), too returning to the dressing room in the final few overs, it became a challenge.

What should have been a straightforward chase became an uphill task, but the power-hitting pair of Stoinis and Wade didn’t panic, getting Australia home with two balls to spare, smashing two boundaries in the last over.

“The main thing for me there was actually just trying to stay as calm as I can, and for a Greek Australian, that’s pretty hard. I mean, you saw a bit of emotion come out toward the end but the main thing is we were communicating, trying to sort out who was going to bowl, make a plan and then stay calm from there,” said Stoinis, following the hard-earned win.

Stoinis said that stroke-play was extremely difficult for both sides as it was hard to get under the ball, which was skidding a lot. The Australian also added that the trend of low scores withnessed during the Indian Premier League (IPL) would continue in the T20 World Cup as well because of the nature of the pitches here.

“It’s (low scores) what we expected to an extent. I mean, it was quite hard to get under the ball because it was skidding on quite a bit. It was more skidding on and it wasn’t too quick. So it’s hard to get under and up, under the ball.

“But I guess partnerships is the key, and then get used to the conditions while you’re out there. It’s one thing having a plan but you also have to work things out on the fly while you’re out there. We saw through the IPL the scores were not as high as they have been in the past and that might be a trend we’ll see in the World Cup,” he added.

Stoinis was happy that his team had started on a winning note, adding that this could herald even better times for his side in the World Cup.

“I think it’s important to start tournaments like this on the right foot I guess. I mean, it’s obvious that you want to win, but yeah, in these short tournaments, I think no matter how you win, it’s always a better feeling. You wake up the next morning, it’s always better winning than losing. So yeah, hopefully good times ahead.”

–IANS

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