Marsh, Sangha star as Australia crush South Africa

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Mitch Marsh has produced a blistering captain's knock and Tanveer Sangha made a dream debut as Australia crushed South Africa by a record 111 runs in the series-opening T20 clash in Durban.

Marsh thumped an unbeaten 92 off 49 balls and Tim David (64 off 28 balls) also joined in on the fun as Australia posted 6-226 at Kingsmead on Wednesday night (Thursday AEST).

In reply, South Africa were bowled out for 115 in 15.3 overs, with Sangha (4-31) and Marcus Stoinis (3-18) doing the damage.

Paceman Spencer Johnson (2-33 off 3.3 overs) was expensive on debut, but he fought back to claim two late wickets, including the scalp of opener Reeza Hendricks (56 off 43 balls).

Sangha wasn't even meant to be playing, but the late scratching of Adam Zampa due to illness resulted in the 21-year-old legspinner being rushed into the side.

It meant Australia fielded four debutants - Aaron Hardie, Johnson, Matt Short and Sangha.

Zampa is expected to be fit to return for game two, but Sangha's stunning debut means Australia now face a welcome selection dilemma.

Australia's victory was their largest ever in a T20 against South Africa, bettering the 107-run win in Johannesburg in 2020.

Their total was also the biggest for a T20 international at Kingsmead, eclipsing the 4-218 posted by England against South Africa in 2020.

"It's always nice to start a three-match series with a win, and my job is to score runs, so it was nice to get a couple," Marsh told Fox Cricket after winning the man-of-the-match award.

"I thought Tim David was fantastic, the way he batted took the pressure off me.

"It was a really good partnership, and he batted beautifully."

The loss of Travis Head (six) off the third ball of the innings brought Marsh to the crease, and the first-time skipper went bang as Australia moved to 1-45 after just 2.3 overs.

Such was Marsh's power, he slugged Lizaad Williams (3-44) out of the ground and into oncoming traffic in the fifth over.

Australia were in cruise control at 1-69 in the fifth over, but the loss of Short (20 off 11), Josh Inglis (1) and Stoinis (6) in quick succession resulted in the visitors slumping to 4-77.

David and Marsh combined for a 97-run partnership to steady the ship.

Marsh's decision to open the bowling with Stoinis proved a masterstroke, with the allrounder snaring the scalp of Temba Bavuma in an over that cost just one run.

Sangha was introduced into the fray in the seventh over with South Africa at 2-53.

He snared his maiden T20 scalp with his sixth ball when Aiden Markram struck him straight to backward point.

And when Sangha sent Dewald Brevis and Tristan Stubbs packing in consecutive deliveries in the eighth over, South Africa's victory hopes were all but over.

"Amazing. He's done that in the Big Bash and for NSW for the last couple of years," Marsh said of Sangha.

"He's a fantastic young talent. To come in and do that, he's got great character, and he's going to fit right into international cricket."

Australia entered the series without Pat Cummins (wrist), Mitchell Starc (groin), Steve Smith (wrist), Glenn Maxwell (ankle), Josh Hazlewood, Cameron Green and David Warner.

The white-ball tour of South Africa is Australia's next step of preparation ahead of October's ODI World Cup in India.