In spite of late batting collapse from the batsmen, a collective team effort by the Aussie top order proved to be too good for Quinton de Kock’s century as Australia defeated South Africa by 2 wickets in the fifth and Final ODI at the Sydney Cricket ground, Sydney. With this win, the Aussies win the five match ODI series 4-1 and move up to number 1 in the ICC ODI rankings.
Chasing a total of 281 in 50 overs, the Aussies were off to a flier before David Warner threw his wicket away for 21. Fellow opener Aaron Finch and Shane Watson made sure that there are no more hiccups early on in the innings as they batted out the initial field restriction overs. A brief rain break reduced the target to 275 in 48 overs. Finch looked threatening as he launched a counter attack against the bowlers and Watson tried to maintain the tempo. Both reached their fifty and shared a 100 run partnership in 17 overs before Finch was caught by Rilee Rossouw courtesy a relay delivery from Faf du Plessis in the boundaries for a 67 off 76.
Steve Smith, the centurion from the last match joined Watson at the crease and put on a 79 runs for the third wicket when Watson was dismissed by Morne Morkel for a well made 82. Soon after, struggling Glenn Maxwell followed Watson to the pavilion after Morkel had him caught by Farhaan Behardien for 7. Steve Smith lost his wicket against the run of play to Robin Peterson for 76 and that triggered a mini collapse as George Bailey, Matthew Wade and Pat Cummins followed Smith soon after. James Faulkner, along with Mitchell Starc took the Aussies home with 5 balls to spare. Robin Peterson was the pick of the South African bowlers with a figures of 4-28.
Earlier in the day, Hashim Amla, the stand-in skipper in the absence of regular skipper AB de Villiers chose to bat and Quinton de Kock scored his sixth ODI hundred and set the foundation for scoring a huge total before getting out to Pat Cummins for 113. The proteas failed to maintain the tempo in the middle overs and courtesy a 41 ball 63 from Behardien took the proteas to a respectable 280-6 in fifty overs. Cummins was the pick of the bowlers with a figures of 3-54.
With this, Australia equals India’s tally of 117 points in the ICC ODI rankings but go ahead of the Me in blue on the virtue of playing lesser matches. Quinton de Kock was named as the Player of the match and Steve Smith was named as the Player of the Series.
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