Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers help South Africa beat Australia
Last Updated: 27/08/14 8:17pm
Centuries from Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers helped South Africa chase down Australia’s 327-7 with seven wickets and 20 balls to spare in the Zimbabwe Triangular Series.
Du Plessis made a career-best 106 while skipper de Villiers steered his side to victory in Harare with a superb unbeaten 136, the pair having shared a record-breaking third-wicket stand worth 206.
The efforts of the duo – who had come together at 57-2 after the quick dismissals of opening pair Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla – overshadowed a hundred earlier in the match from Australia’s Aaron Finch.
The opener made 102, including putting on a 92-run alliance for the first wicket with Phil Hughes (51). Captain George Bailey weighed in with 66, helping his team go beyond 300 for the second successive match in the series.
However, unlike in their 198-run triumph over hosts Zimbabwe on Tuesday, their bowlers were unable to defend such a sizeable total.
Mitchell Starc picked up two wickets but at some cost, his eight overs going for 66 runs. Mitchell Johnson, meanwhile, returned figures of 0-63 from his full allocation of 10 as not one Australian bowler managed to go at less than a run-a-ball rate.
Kane Richardson (1-68) did manage to pick up a wicket, dismissing Amla for 24 to leave the score at 44-1. It was soon 51-2 after Starc removed De Kock (19), though from then on Du Plessis and De Villiers dominated proceedings.
Their partnership set a new record at the venue in ODI cricket, while it entered the record books as the highest third-wicket stand for South Africa against Australia.
Du Plessis surpassed his previous highest 50-over score for his country of 72, as he reached three figures for the first time, helped by 11 fours and a six.
He finally perished taking on a Starc short ball but Australia crucially failed to take either of two opportunities offered by De Villiers, Johnson shelling a return catch before Bailey then failed to cling on to another chance eight balls later.
The Proteas captain was also hampered by cramp but pressed on, combining with JP Duminy – who finished up unbeaten on 33 from 29 deliveries – to see the Proteas over the finishing line with plenty of time to spare.