28 August 2014
De Villiers, du Plessis steer South Africa home
Finch’s century goes in vain as Australia goes down by seven wickets in second match of triangular series
Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers added 206 off 174 balls for the third wicket as South Africa beat Australia by seven wickets.
Earlier, Aaron Finch struck his third ODI century of the year to help Australia post a formidable 327 for 7 after being put in to bat at the Harare Sports Club.
South Africa lost both its openers in quick time and slipped to 51 for 2 after nine overs. However, du Plessis and de Villiers steered it to safe waters by virtue of a third-wicket stand worth 206 off just 174 balls.
It was Mitchell Starc who eventually provided the breakthrough when he had du Plessis caught by Steve Smith. However, by then, South Africa had got itself into a comfortable position, with less than a run a ball needed for a win. JP Duminy then joined his captain and scored a quick unbeaten 33 to help South Africa cross the line.
Earlier, Finch scored an important 102 to help Australia put up an imposing total. Finch put on 92 for the opening wicket with Phillip Hughes (51). Hughes was caught by de Villiers off Imran Tahir's leg-spin, following which Tahir struck for a second time, this time accounting for Mitchell Marsh who was trapped lbw.
Geoge Bailey, Australia's stand-in captain, then joined Finch at the crease and the duo added 114 for the third wicket off 93 balls.
Finch was caught off Ryan McLaren when an attempted pull resulted in Duminy, standing at deep square leg coming in to take a simple catch.
Bailey departed soon after for 66 off 54 balls when he was caught behind off Morne Morkel's right-arm pace bowling.
It was then, with the assistance of some late fireworks, from Steve Smith and Mitchell Johnson, that Australia ended on a strong note. Smith scored a 19-ball 31, while Mitchell Johnson scored an unbeaten 23 off eight balls.
Morkel, McLaren and Tahir shared the wickets equally, picking up two apiece. But it was Tahir's leg-spin that made the difference, his ten overs fetching him 2 for 45.
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