It was the 5th ODI of the triangular series between South Africa and Australia. Australia did suffer from a sheer setback in the previous ODI when they lost to Zimbabwe by 3 wickets. It was their first loss to Zimbabwe since 1983. So, Australia were definitely on some spot of bother and needed to bounce back strongly. South Africa on the other hand, won their previous encounter against Zimbabwe. They look to be in very much of balance under the leadership of their new ODI captain, AB De Villiers. The match was being held at Harare sports club and South Africa won the toss and opted to field first.
Finch and Hughes opened the innings for Australia while it was Dale Steyn who started off proceedings for South Africa. It was quite sort of good start by Australia and they were going at good pace. Initially, Steyn did manage to trouble the batsmen by a bit but he could not fetch any wicket initially. Also, quite surprisingly, JP Duminy partnered Steyn in the initial overs. It was McLaren who provided South Africa with the opening breakthrough in the form of Aaron Finch in the 11th over of the innings. Finch played a casual stroke and was caught by Duminy and he was dismissed for 16 off 24 balls. The young sensation, Steve Smith came in at the crease next and he started building a steady partnership with Hughes. They were carrying the innings well and Australia were progressing to a good score. It was an 85 runs partnership when Smith was dismissed and Australia lost their second wicket. Then Glenn Maxwell came in and Steyn was re introduced in the attack and he struck. Maxwell was dismissed before he could inflict any sorts of damage. Soon after that, Hughes brilliant innings came to an end and he was dismissed for 86. He missed his century by quite a narrow margin and he deserved the century. Then George Bailey and Mitchell Marsh carried on with their partnership and pressure were upon them as both were new on the crease. But they managed things quite well and Marsh was fiery in his innings. He remained unbeaten on 86 runs of 51 balls with 5 fours and 7 sixes. It was truly a gem of an innings from him. Bailey was dismissed at 36 and Haddin assisted Marsh for the last few overs. Finally Australia had put a score of 282 runs on the board.
Chasing a total of 283 runs was never easy. And South Africa crumbled from the initial overs. There were no decent partnerships for them . Australians too opened their proceedings quite surprisingly. Maxwell bowled from one end while Mitchell Johnson on the other. Maxwell came up with golden colours with the ball though. It was right in the second over of the South African innings, Maxwell dismissed De Kock. Mitchell Marsh showed his brilliance with the ball too. He dismissed the most dependable batsman of the South African squad, Hashim Amla. And in no time South Africans lost both their openers and were in definite sorts of bother. Then it was Du Plessis and De Villiers who steadied their innings. But even De Villiers did not manage to stay for long. He was dismissed before he could make a mark. None of Duminy and David Miller did come up with some sorts of steadiness and South Africa were 101 for the loss of 5 wickets at one point of time. Then it was McLaren and Du Plessis upon whom all the responsibilities rested. They went on to build a good enough partnership but it was broken by Kane Richardson when he dismissed McLaren. South Africa were 6 down for 174. And defeat seemed inevitable from then. They lost wickets in regular intervals after that. Only Du Plessis managed to stay at the crease. He scored a brilliant century and scored 126 runs off 108 balls with 8 fours and 6 sixes. He was the eighth batsman to be dismissed and with his dismissal, South Africa apparently lost the game. They were bundled at a score of 220 runs after 44 overs and Australia won the game quite convincingly by a margin of 62 runs.