Australia defeated South Africa by 62 runs in a must-win Triangular Series match in Harare on Tuesday. AB De Villiers won the toss and sent the Australians in to bat. A 46-run opening partnership was broken by Ryan McLaren (1/56) when Aaron Finch was caught by JP Duminy for 16.
Steven Smith and Phillip Hughes then added 85 for the second wicket before Smith was caught behind by Quinton De Kock off Imran Tahir (1/42) for 36. Five runs later Glenn Maxwell was also back in the hut, caught by De Kock off Dale Steyn for just 2. It was 152/4 when Aaron Phangiso had Hughes caught by David Miller for 85. Hughes hit seven fours and a six in his 92-ball innings.
New man Mitchell Marsh and George Bailey put on 35 before Bailey was the next man out. Phangiso (2/39) had the Australian stumped by De Kock for 32 from 35 balls as Australia were looking to accelerate. Marsh then let loose and took a particular liking to Steyn (1/64). The 22-year old carted the Phalaborwa Express for three sixes in the 47th over at the Harare Sports Club.
Amidst the madness Brad Haddin would lose his wicket when he was caught on 11 by Phangiso off Morne Morkel (1/51) with the score on 258/6. But it was the Marsh mayhem that aided Australia in posting a competitive score in the Zimbabwean capital. Marsh hammered five fours and seven sixes on his way to 86 not out off only 51 balls. Mitchell Johnson was run out for 2 off the penultimate ball by Phangiso’s throw from deep mid off.
Mitchell Starc added one run off the last ball as the Baggy Greens posted 282/6 in their fifty overs. In reply the Proteas were on the back foot after just ten balls when De Kock was out caught Smith, bowled Maxwell for just 1. Test captain Hashim Amla was the next man out when he was caught behind by Haddin off Marsh (2/23) for 17 and the South Africans were struggling at 36/2.
South Africa just could not put together a partnership. After a 28-run stand De Villiers found Bailey off Nathan Lyon (1/53)after making just 6. It was 93/4 when Duminy was caught by substitute fielder Ben Cutting for only 16.
Faf Du Plessis stood firm and brought up his half century but no one could hang around long enough to support him. David Miller was next to go when he was clean bowled by Johnson (2/30) leaving the Proteas on 101/5. Du Plessis and McLaren added 73 runs in 74 balls for the sixth wicket as South Africa looked to fight back.
Du Plessis continued to go hard at the Aussie attack but the run out of Steyn for 5 did not help the South Africa cause. It was 206/7 and the Proteas’ chances were quickly disappearing.
The resistance was broken when McLaren was caught by Smith off Kane Richardson for a 41-ball 24 and it was 174/6. Off the last ball of the 38th over Du Plessis softly pulled a Starc (0/47) bouncer past midwicket for a single that brought up his second ODI century but both the centurion and new batting partner Steyn knew there was a long way to go yet, still requiring 102 runs from 72 deliveries.
Ultimately Du Plessis ran out of batting partners and when he hit is own wicket off Richardson (2/38) for 126 there was little chance of Tahir, Phangiso and Morkel taking the side home. In the end the Proteas were dismissed for 220 in just 44 overs as they crumbled by 62 runs.