Australia won against South Africa with a bonus point © AFP
Australia clinched a 62-run win against South Africa in the fifth One-Day International (ODI) of the triangular series at Harare. The victory confirmed Australia’s participation in the finals of this tournament, and also helped soothe the wounds inflicted by the loss against Zimbabwe just two days ago. Sameer Jha looks at some of the highlights of the match.
Philip Hughes–Steven Smith partnership: Steven Smith was sent in to bat at No 3 for the first time in ODIs. He made full use of the opportunity, and combined well with Phillip Hughes to put together an 85-run partnership for Australia. The partnership was filled with singles and doubles.
Hughes’ 85: Phillip Hughes scored a well-paced 85, and would have probably reached his hundred had he not hit an Aaron Phangiso delivery high into the air trying to accelerate the scoring rate for Australia.
Mitchell Marsh’s 86 from 69: Australia were 202 for five at the end of 44 overs, and were struggling to find the boundary when Mitchell Marsh managed to break the shackles, and helped Australia score 80 runs in the last six overs. The highlight of Marsh’s innings was the three consecutive sixes he hit off Dale Steyn. Marsh also took the crucial wickets of Hashim Amla and JP Duminy, and was rightfully adjudged the man-of-the-match.
South African batting collapse: South Africa made a stuttering start to the chase, with Quinton de Kock falling in just the second over. Hashim Amla fell for 17, and AB de Villiers too fell early. JP Duminy hung around for a bit, but he too could add just 16 runs to the South African total.
Faf du Plessis–Ryan McLaren rescue operation: Du Plessis and McLaren started their partnership when South Africa were reeling for 101 for five, with 182 more runs to get. The pair almost pulled it off for the Proteas, making a 73-run partnership off 74 balls.
Faf du Plessis’ century: Du Plessis became the first South African batsman to score back to back hundreds against Australia in ODIs. While his previous hundred helped the South Africans chase a mammoth 328, this one was in vain. However, it was a fine knock, and du Plessis will definitely be one of the batsman to watch out for in the ICC World Cup 2015.
(Sameer Jha is a reporter at cricketcountry.com. He can be followed on Twitter at @SameerJha)