Australia moved to number one in the One Day International rankings as they narrowly defeated South Africa by two wickets in the final ODI to take the series 4-1 in Sydney on Sunday. South Africa won the toss and chose to bat. Their opening pair of Hashim Amla and Quinton De Kock got off to a decent start putting on a 54-run partnership.
Their opening stand was broken when Amla (18) nicked one from Glenn Maxwell (1/30) to Matthew Wade to leave his side on 54/1. Rilee Roussow (51) joined the young wicketkeeper at the crease with both batsmen bringing up half centuries to lead their side to 161/1. However the useful partnership of 107 runs was broken when Roussow mistimed one to George Bailey at mid-on.
Faf Du Plessis was the next man out and he faced two balls before there was a rain delay. After the delay in play Du Plessis was undone by a slower ball from Pat Cummins (3/54) for 2. David Miller was the new man in to join the established batsman De Kock who was slowly approaching a century.
However Miller only managed 12 runs before he was dismissed by Smith (1/17) as South Africa looked in a spot of bother at 187/4. Farhaan Behardien joined De Kock (107) who brought up his sixth ODI century and the Proteas’ 200 before the centurion gloved one to the keeper. Wayne Parnell was the new man at the crease.
Behardien (63) began to make a move and accelerate the run rate by playing his shots and he brought up a well played half century off 35 balls. The partnership between these two batsman added 73 before the established batsman was dismissed with two balls left and the score on 279/6. Ryan McLaren (1 not out) joined Parnell (18 not out) at the crease and saw South Africa to a score of 280/6 at the end of their 50 overs.
In reply the Aussie opening pair of David Warner and Aaron Finch got off to an equally decent start taking their side to 30/0 before Warner mistimed one from Parnell to Robin Peterson at mid-off. Shane Watson joined Finch at the crease and they began to build another decent partnership taking their side to 62/1 before another rain delay. When play resumed the match was reduced to 48 overs with Australia needing to reach a target of 275.
After this delay both batsmen continued to play their shots with Finch the aggressor. He went on to bring up his half century. Watson and Finch continued on their good run taking their side to 135/1 before Finch (76) departed caught on the boundary by Roussow off the bowling of Peterson (4/32). Steve Smith was the next man in and with Watson put on a 81-run partnership with Watson bringing up his half century to get their side to 176/2.
The visiting side had a chance to get rid of Smith but Kyle Abbott (1/59) bowled a huge no ball so he survived and went on to make a half century. The men from Down Under brought up their 200 and lost Watson soon after for 82. A mini middle order collapse saw Maxwell dismissed for 7 followed by Smith for 67.
George Bailey (4), Wade (3) and Pat Cummins (0) all fell to hand Peterson his fourth wicket of the night to leave them on 267/8. Mitchell Starc (1 not out) and James Faulkner (6 not out) were the new men at the crease requiring eight runs from 12 balls. There was some nervous moments in the penultimate over but Australia just required four off the final over and it was Faulkner once again who finished it off with a boundary as they ran out winners by two wickets.
The five match series ended in a 4-1 victory for Australia. The man of the match was De Kock for his innings of 107. The man of the series award went to Steve Smith.