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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Proteas beat Australia in third ODI to keep series alive after strong batting performance

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South Africa bounce back with a much needed victory in Potchefstroom.

The Proteas are slowly but surely starting to gel as a team after a frightening start to the cricket season where they lost five consecutive matches to Australia (3 T20Is and 2 ODIs).

Tuesday night’s 111-run victory mean Temba Bavuma’s men are turning the corner at the right time as the Cup is only a few weeks away.

The most positive signs from Tuesday night were the performances of the two frontline spinners in Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj, who expertly used the spinner friendly conditions at the JB Marks Oval to the fullest.

With the Cup being in India where spinners usually take charge, South Africa will be delighted with the form the two spinners displayed in Potchefstroom where they took four wickets between them and controlled the run-rate brilliantly.

Leading up to the ODIs, there were concerns over the form of wrist spinner Shamsi, and questions were rightly asked on whether Maharaj would hit the ground running after being sidelined for four months due to injury.

But Shamsi has turned things around from the second ODI in Bloemfontein where he picked up 4/61 and has carried his form into last night’s match where he returned 2/29 while Maharaj returned 2/37.

Shamsi dealt with the inform Mitchell Marsh (29 off 26) and then followed up with a stunning wicket of Marnus Labuschagne (15 off 16) where the Australian went down the wicket only to get beaten by the turn while De Kock finished the stumping behind the stumps.

Sisanda Magala (1/46) picked up a solitary wicket while Gerald Coetzee (4/50) cleaned up the Australian tail beautifully with wicket-to-wicket style of bowling and helped South Africa keep the series alive at 2-1 with matches in Centurion and Johannesburg coming up later this week.

The bowlers responded well last night, but only after the batters set a solid enough foundations to allow the bowlers to come onto the park with freedom to express themselves.

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Bavuma and De Kock set 146 for the opening stand, Reeza Hendricks (39 off 45) and De Kock added 76 for the second wicket, while Markram and Marco Jansen (32 of 16) put together 63 runs to mark what was an incredibly improved batting performance from the hosts.

Half centuries from Bavuma (57 off 62) and De Kock (82 off 77) were followed up by Markram’s unbeaten century, a second in his ODI career, and that effort helped South Africa set a competitive 338/6.

The fourth match will be played at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday afternoon.



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