South Africa skipper AB de Villiers has hailed Faf du Plessis’ 185-run knock during the fourth One-Day international against Sri Lanka.
The Proteas were in a spot of bother early on when Hashim Amla was dismissed for only one but a career-best innings by du Plessis helped the hosts post a mammoth 367 for 5 in 50 overs at Newlands on Tuesday (February 7). The 32-year-old came at the crease in the second over and batted until the last, when he was caught on the boundary while looking for a six that would have taken him past Gary Kirsten’s 188, the highest individual ODI score by a South African. His 185-run knock came off only 141 balls and was studded with 16 fours and three maximums.
The 368-run target was always going to be a tough one for a team which had failed to cross the 190-run mark in the last three matches but the visitors led by a brilliant century from their stand-in skipper Upul Tharanga gave the hosts a run for their money before eventually falling short by 40 runs. The left-handed batsman scored 119 runs from only 90 balls to lay the foundation of the chase but the failure of other batsmen saw South Africa taking a 4-0 lead in the 5-match series.
Speaking after the game, de Villiers said:
“Faf played an exceptional knock. Tharanga also played a fantastic knock but there wasn’t a lot of panic. I felt comfortable with the variety we had in our bowling.”
Meanwhile, speaking on his team’s batting performance, Tharanga said:
“We needed to get a good start and it was a much better batting performance. Unfortunately we lost too many wickets later.”
Du Plessis, meanwhile, credited Quinton de Kock and de Villiers, with whom he shared century stands, for taking the pressure off him which allowed him to play freely.
“When you’re feeling in good touch you’ve got to score big runs. That’s my job,” said Du Plessis. Quinny was striking the ball nicely and that took the pressure off me, then AB was brilliant running between the wickets.”
The fifth and final match of the series will be played on February 10 in Centurion.