Kyle Abbott and Tabraiz Shamsi routed Australia with the ball to set South Africa up for a six-wicket victory over Australia at St. George’s Park on Sunday and a 4-0 lead in the five-match ODI Series. Abbott, Shamsi and Aaron Phangiso all came into the Proteas side for their first matches of the series as heavyweights Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir were all rested, and took nine wickets between them to produce an impressive display of the bowling options available to South Africa at the moment. After Australia had won the toss for the third time in a row, and opted to bat first Man of the Match Abbott got the ball rolling by bowling Aaron Finch with the third delivery of the match and then also castling David Warner with his seventh delivery with what was possibly the delivery of the series.
He also got rid of Mitchell Marsh (50 off 72 balls, five fours and a six) at a stage when the latter and Matthew Wade were putting together Australia’s only substantial partnership of the innings (62 for the sixth wicket in 12.4 overs). He finished with 4/40 from eight overs while Shamsi took 3/36 from his full complement of 10 and Phangiso, who cleaned up the tail, 2/17. Australia were three down inside four overs with Dwaine Pretorius, taking the new ball for the first time at this level, also enjoying success and it was then that Shamsi twisted the knife in the wound getting rid of both Steve Smith and Travis Head in the space of three balls to leave Australia 40/5.
All three his wickets were lbw victims and it was evident that the Australian batsmen had difficulty in reading him. Australia were eventually all out for 167 in 36.4 overs as they committed the cardinal sin of not batting out their 50 overs. There was also the unwanted statistic of seven of their partnerships failing to get into double figures including four of the top six and this must surely be a first for them.
The pitch was much slower than those used in the previous games but a par score was still in the region of 250 which became evident when South Africa batted. Patience was required to get used to the two-paced surface and Faf Du Plessis survived an early chance to show just that as he compiled 69 off 87 balls (eight fours) and shared successive partnerships of 56 with JP Duminy and 55 with Rilee Rossouw. By the time he was out, caught on the boundary, the match was as good as over.
It was the second match in the series in which the Proteas had reached their target without batting into the final power play. They now have the chance to complete a clean sweep against the world champions at Newlands on Wednesday.