Steve Smith’s timely century against South Africa in the fourth ODI at MCG not only won them the match but also helped his side to take an unassailable lead over the visitors in the five match series. With this, Australia sealed the five match ODI series against South Africa 3-1 with a match still to be played. His knock of 104 off 112 balls earned him the Man of the Match. The fifth ODI will be played at Sydney on Sunday.
Chasing 268 to win from 50 overs, Australia began poorly as they lost the wicket of David Warner with just 8 runs on the board. Soon, Watson followed Warner to the pavilion chasing a wide delivery from Ryan McLaren and offering De Kock an easy catch behind the stumps before Aaron Finch was caught by Faf de Plessis at deep Square Leg off Wayne Parnell for 22. George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell too didn’t last long as it was all left to Steve Smith to take the Aussies home, Smith shared a 119 run partnership with wicket keeper Matthew Wade and that set the platform for Australia.
Both the batsmen reached their fifties before Wade was dismissed by Parnell 52. Smith, on the other hand batted sensibly as he reached his second ODI hundred. His partner James Faulkner launched an attack on the Protea bowlers as he blasted a quick-fire 19 ball 34. In spite of losing Smith, Australia sneaked in home with three wickets in hand and one over in hand.
Earlier in the day, after choosing to bat, South Africa scrambled to reach 267-8 after losing wickets at regular intervals. Skipper AB de Villiers’ third fifty in four matches help South Africa to reach a respectable total. After being reduced to 77-3, de Villiers and David Miller (45 off 63) shared a 122 run partnership in 20 overs to put them back on track. Some lusty blows from Robin Peterson and Farhaan Behardian took them to 267-8. De Villiers top-scored with a 88 ball 91 and Pat Cummins was the pick of the bowlers for 2-61.
Brief Scores: Australia 7 for 268 (Smith 104, Wade 52) beat South Africa 8 for 267 (de Villiers 91, Miller 45) by 3 wickets