(Adds details, byline)
By Mark Gleeson
CAPE TOWN, Feb 26 (Reuters) - A 120-run opening partnership between captain Aaron Finch and David Warner laid the platform for an emphatic 97-run victory for Australia over South Africa on Wednesday to win the Twenty20 series 2-1.
Australia were put into bat and made the most of a dry surface as they scored 193 for five before bowling out their hosts for 96.
It secured a 2-1 series triumph for the touring side who will host the T20 World Cup later this year.
Australia spinner Adam Zampa took two wickets and two difficult catches as South Africa faltered early in their run chase and were bowled out in the 16th over.
Australia raced to 75 off the first six overs and reached a 100 inside the opening nine overs. Finch took 28 balls to get his 50 and Warner only 30 balls for his half-century.
They continued to 120 off 69 balls before Warner holed out to David Miller at mid-wicket off the bowling of Anrich Nortje. Warner’s 57 runs came off 37 balls.
Finch (55 runs off 37) was trapped lbw by spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, dropping to one knee to try and hit the ball over short fine leg but struck on the thigh.
The wickets stemmed the run flow as South Africa looked to get themselves into the match, their bowlers conceding only 31 between overs 11-15 and helped by Australia experimenting with Steve Smith dropping down the batting order.
When he eventually came in at number five near, he scored 30 runs off 15 balls, although he was bowled by Kagiso Rabada when on six but called back to the crease when it proved to be a no-ball.
Home skipper Quinton de Kock, so often the talisman for his team, was bowled by Mitchell Starc (3-22) in the first over of the reply and the home side lost a steady procession of batsmen.
Zampa’s catches to see off Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen proved crucial and he bowled Heinrich Klaasen to finish with 2-10.
When the hard-hitting Miller fell with the score on 87-6, the contest was effectively over.
Ashton Agar, who took a hat-trick in the first match of the series in Johannesburg, came close again with successive wickets but Shamsi kept the next ball out. (Editing by Ed Osmond)