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Warner returns to scene of scandal to set up Australia win

David Warner returned to the scene of the scandal and played a central role in a victory this time as Australia beat South Africa by 97 runs in the final Twenty20 to clinch the series 2-1 on Wednesday.

The last time Warner was at Newlands he instigated one of the biggest embarrassments in Australian cricket history with a ball-tampering plot in a test against South Africa in March 2018.

Warner's contribution in this game was to top score for the Aussies with 57 off 37 balls to set up a total of 193-5.

Australia's David Warner, and Aaron Finch, right, make a run during the 3rd and final T20 cricket match between South Africa and Australia at Newlands Cricket stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. (AP Photo)

South Africa didn't come close. Mitchel Starc blasted out captain Quinton de Kock (5) and former skipper Faf du Plessis (5) in the first and third overs of the chase. The quick bowler finished it with Kagiso Rabada's wicket and South Africa was all out for 96 in 15.3 overs.

In between Starc's early and late strikes, spinners Ashton Agar (3-16) and Adam Zampa (2-10) knocked the stuffing out of the South African lineup.

Warner and captain Aaron Finch, who hit 55 off 37, put on 120 in their opening stand after South Africa put them in to bat. Australia was ahead from then on.

Australia celebrates the wicket of South Africa's Far du Plessis during the 3rd and final T20 cricket match between South Africa and Australia at Newlands Cricket stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. (AP Photo)

While the victory may not completely erase memories of the ball-tampering scandal, it might soften them for Warner and former captain Steve Smith, another man involved in the drama two years ago and who also made his return to Newlands on Wednesday.

Smith made 30 not out in a valuable contribution at the end of the Aussie innings.

Warner and Smith were both banned for a year by Cricket Australia for their roles in the cheating and Smith was stripped of the captaincy.

Australia's David Warner celebrates his half century during the 3rd and final T20 cricket match between South Africa and Australia at Newlands Cricket stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. (AP Photo)

They've been back in international cricket for nearly a year now but the return to Cape Town felt like the final step on the road to redemption.

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Australia's Ashton Argar at the wicket during the 3rd and final T20 cricket match between South Africa and Australia at Newlands Cricket stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. (AP Photo)

Australia's Patrick Cummins misses a catch during the 3rd and final T20 cricket match between South Africa and Australia at Newlands Cricket stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. (AP Photo)

Australia's Steve Smith at the wicket during the 3rd and final T20 cricket match between South Africa and Australia at Newlands Cricket stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. (AP Photo)

Australia's Steve Smith, left, watches his ball go for a six during the 3rd and final T20 cricket match between South Africa and Australia at Newlands Cricket stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. (AP Photo)

Australia's Aaron Finch celebrates his half century during the 3rd and final T20 cricket match between South Africa and Australia at Newlands Cricket stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. (AP Photo)

Australia's Steve Smith, left, at the wicket during the 3rd and final T20 cricket match between South Africa and Australia at Newlands Cricket stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. (AP Photo)