With an unassailable lead heading into the fourth ODI in Port Elizabeth, the Proteas will look to pile more misery on Darren Lehmann and his beleaguered Australians.
Memories of the 438 game came flooding back as the Proteas chased down a massive 372 to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
The sides will next head to St. George’s Park in Port Elizabeth where the Proteas will be dead keen on maintaining their dominance. Will the Aussies bounce back with a win in the Friendly City or will the Proteas continue to pile the pressure on the planet’s number one ranked ODI team? Let’s take a look:
South Africa vs Australia | Saturday 8 October | St. George’s Park, Port Elizabeth | 09:30
To Win Match
South Africa 72/100 | Tie 35/1 | Australia 23/20
David Miller and Andile Phelukwayo stole the show toward the back end of the second innings as the Proteas put in their best display in white ball cricket since AB de Villiers scored his 31-ball century against the West Indies a few years ago.
While the batting display was otherworldly, the South African bowling left much to be desired. Neither Dale Steyn nor Kagiso Rabada were able to consistently hit their lines and lengths as the Australian opening duo of David Warner and Aaron Finch tucked into some pretty average bowling. In fact, Steyn’s concession of 96 runs after his 10 overs means that he now holds the unenviable record of having conceded the most runs in a single ODI in South African history.
It wasn’t until Imran Tahir, Dwaine Pretorius, Phelukwayo and JP Duminy had a bowl that the tide was stemmed somewhat. The four took the pace right off the ball and made the scoring difficult for the Australian top and middle order.
Let’s move on from a rather underwhelming bowling performance. The Proteas were magnificent with the bat. Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla got the home side off to the ideal start, motoring to 66 off 8.2 overs before the latter of the two was trapped in front by John Hastings for a 30-ball 45. De Kock continued where Hash left off, blitzing his way to 70 until he was well held in the deep by Chris Tremain off the bowling of Daniel Worrall.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. David Miller stepped up to the crease and wrestled the advantage away from the Australians with an astonishing display of power hitting. He was joined lower down the order by Phelukwayo as the two dragged the South Africans over the line with four balls remaining.
Looking ahead, I don’t think that the Australians can stop this South African juggernaut. At least not without their first-choice bowling attack. The Protea batsmen have had a pretty simple time picking apart a List A attack at best, and I’m of the opinion that this trend is set to continue when we head to South Africa’s windy city.
Where to now for the Australians? I don’t think that they should be too discouraged by the drubbing they’ve received so far. Losing just about all of your frontline bowlers for a foreign tour will never be easy.
They’ve needed their top order to come to the party during this tour – something that hadn’t really materialised in the first two ODIs. They turned it around in Durban with Aaron Finch, David Warner and Steve Smith all finally coming good. Finch smashed his way to a 34-ball 53 while Warner and Smith both helped themselves to centuries against a wobbling South African pace attack.
Had the South African slower bowlers not put a lid on things, the Aussies may well have got to 400+. There was a bit of a lull in the middle overs as Smith reached his 100 at pretty much a run-a-ball. Still, 371 at Kingsmead should have been a good enough score to ensure victory.
Come the end of the match, Adam Zampa – who had bowled quite beautifully – still had 2.4 overs remaining. Surely Smith should have bowled him out on a surface that made scoring difficult against the spinners. As the pressure built on the Australian side, the seamers – with the exception of Mitch Marsh – struggled against Miller who was going ham at this point. Even the fielders seemed to be feeling the pressure with simple errors being made which led to more runs.
With the series lost, the Australians will be feeling the pressure. The last time they were whitewashed in an ODI series (not counting the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy which is competed for over a single match) was against England in 2012 where they lost 4-0 in a five-match series.
I’m not sure they’ll be able to turn things around going forward. To get beaten after posting 370+ knocks the wind out of the sails of any team, and with good crowds expected at PE as well as Cape Town, the men from down under may well find the going tough.
Verdict: South Africa 72/100
You simply can’t bet against South Africa in their current form. They’ve blitzed the number one ranked ODI side in the world in all three of their matches thus far and simply don’t look like losing. Back the Proteas confidently at 72/100.
Value Bet: Hashim Amla to Top Score for South Africa at 3/1
Hashim Amla showed exactly why he’s considered one of the best batsmen in the world with a stunning – if short – innings against Australia in Durban. His skillset will allow him to cope with conditions in PE better than most of the other South African batsmen. He looks excellent value to Top Score for South Africa at 3/1 – get on!
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.