Faf du Plessis © AFP
By Sameer Jha
Sep 2, 2014
Australia won by 62 runs against South Africa in the fifth One-Day International (ODI) of the triangular series. Australia had scored 282 for the loss of seven wickets, courtesy some brilliant batting by Philip Hughes and Mitchell Marsh. Marsh, who has been a given a chance in the tri-series to impress the Australian selectors ahead of the ICC World Cup 2015, grabbed the opportunity with both hands as he scored 86 in just 69 balls, and took two wickets for 23 runs, and was rightfully adjudged the player of the match.
South Africa made a stuttering start to the chase with Quinton de Kock falling in just the second over to Glenn Maxwell. Hashim Amla too failed to make any significant impact, and AB de Villiers couldn’t repeat his heroics of the second ODI. Faf du Plessis was the only man silently piling on the runs for South Africa, as wickets were tumbling on the other end. At 101 for five, only a miracle could save the Proteas, and du Plessis almost pulled it off. He cleared the boundary with ease and had brought down the equation down to 80 needed off 63 at one point with Ryan McLaren‘s support. Kane Richardson made the crucial dismissal of McLaren, and South Africa just lost the plot from there onwards. Steyn was run out, and du Plessis himself was out in the most unlikeliest fashion — his right foot hit the stumps and dislodged the bails.
Australia had started their innings in a calm and composed manner with no wicket falling in the first 10 overs. Aaron Finch, who had scored a century in his previous innings against the Proteas, failed to repeat his performance and fell to Ryan McLaren in the 11th over. After his dismissal, Phillip Hughes and Steven Smith combined well and rotated the strike beautifully to help the Australians recover. However, Smith who was batting on No 3 for the first time for Australia in ODIs, fell after scoring 36. South African bowlers stemmed the flow of runs after his dismissal, and 250 looked unfeasible for them at one point. But, Mitchell Marsh had other plans. He hit three consecutive sixes off Dale Steyn in the 46th over, and didn’t stop there.
The win will give Australia a lot of confidence, and make them forget the wounds inflicted by Zimbabwe in the fourth ODI. South Africa, will just like to put the defeat behind them, and look to put a better performance against Zimbabwe in the sixth ODI, and the finals.
Australia 282 for 7 in 50 overs (Phillip Hughes 85, Mitchell Marsh 86*; Aaron Phangiso 2 for 39) beat South Africa 220 all out (Faf du Plessis 126, Ryan McLaren 24; Glenn Maxwell 2 for 22, Mitchell Marsh 2 for 23) by 62 runs
Player of the match: Mitchell Marsh
(Sameer Jha is a reporter at cricketcountry.com. He can be followed on Twitter at@SameerJha_)