South Africa wrapped up the ODI series in Bloemfontein with a fine performance to defeat Australia by six wickets.
Janneman Malan produced the match-winning innings, scoring an unbeaten century to guide his team to the victory with nine balls to spare. The Aussies had no answer for his poise at the crease, while he elevated the rate of his knock to secure the series.
Lungi Ngidi was also extremely impressive in the contest, notching career-best figures of 6-58 from his 10 overs. Ngidi put the Baggy Greens on the back foot with his burst removing David Warner, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne – striking with back-to-back balls to dismiss Smith and Labuschagne.
Although D’Arcy Short and Aaron Finch scored half-centuries, Australia’s total looked short of par at the Mangaung Oval.
Malan proved it to be the case with his first ODI century, carrying his team over the line even after captain Quinton de Kock fell for a second-ball duck. Australia’s potent pace attack of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins failed to make a decisive impact. Finch’s men now need to win in Potchefstroom to avoid a 3-0 defeat, ensuring that they leave South Africa on a positive note.
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The Proteas were denied a series win over England, but have held their composure to overcome the Aussies. De Kock and coach Mark Boucher will be desperate for their team to keep up the winning habit and end the series with another strong performance. South Africa had gone a year without triumphing in a bilateral series. The team have undergone a lot of changes recently, with De Kock inheriting the captaincy from Faf du Plessis.
He will be pleased to see that his new-look side are trending in the right direction even if his own form has been poor. If you said before the series that De Kock would struggle, the chances of South Africa claiming even one victory would have been slim.
However, Heinrich Klaasen and Malan both made their breakthroughs to ease the pressure on their skipper. It bodes well for the future of the team that the duo to thrived under the spotlight against a quality bowling attack.
Ngidi has come to the fore with the ball to fill the void left by Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. Kagiso Rabada was also forced to miss the series due to injury, making the ease of their triumph even more impressive. There are encouraging signs in the bowling ranks as Anrich Nortje and Tabraiz Shamsi have found their feet at the highest level.
The Proteas are cultivating the depth in resources needed to become a quality outfit. Ngidi is the star that can cause even the best batsmen in the world a host of problems. If he is on form once again expect the home side to record the victory.
After beating the Proteas in the T20I series, the Aussies would have been hopeful of maintaining their form into the ODIs. However, it has not been the case as Finch’s men have been outplayed by the home side in both games.
Australia have been off the boil in the 50-over game for a quite a while, winning only two out of their last nine bilateral series. Their performance at the World Cup last year reaching the semi-finals perhaps masked their deficiencies, especially in the batting ranks.
Warner and Finch at the top of the order have not been consistent, while Smith has struggled with the pace of his innings. Although he scored 76 in the opener, the 30-year-old did not play with a tempo that suggested he was capable of driving the Baggy Greens’ home.
It could prompt changes in the future, although one temporary measure could see the promotion of Short up the order. Other than there’s not a great deal Australia can do at the moment.
Cummins and Starc were frustrated at Bloemfontein, with neither paceman being at their best. Josh Hazlewood, Jhye Richardson or Kane Richardson may come into the fold. The Aussies could go with an extra quick anyway after opting for two spinners in the second ODI.
Whatever they decide to do, the Baggy Greens have to perform to a higher standard with the ball at Potchefstroom to save themselves from a whitewash defeat.
The weather should be perfect in Potchefstroom throughout the contest on Saturday. It’s forecast for bright sunshine from the start of the day until the evening. Temperatures will be at a high of 28°C during the match, making it perfect for the players and the spectators.
Pitches have been on the slow side given that the season is almost at an end. It would not be a surprise to see another slow burner at Senwes Park.
South Africa are rolling at the moment and appear to have the measure of the Aussies in the 50-over format. None of the Australia batsmen seem comfortable at the crease with pace off the ball. Ngidi has been able to adapt to conditions better than his counterparts and will once again be the difference between the two sides. De Kock has been underwhelming with the bat, but he’s too much of a quality player to be held down for this long. The 27-year-old will be desperate to sign off for the campaign with a substantial knock to send out a statement that the Proteas are back.
South Africa to beat Australia 3rd ODI – 2.65 Betway
Heinreich Klaasen has been outstanding in the series to date, notching a century and a half-century in the two matches. He has boosted his average to 35.41 and seems to have the measure of the Aussie bowlers.
Heinreich Klassen to be South Africa’s Top Batsman – 5.50 Betway
|Wicketkeepers||Quinton de Kock|