Allrounder seals sensational one-wicket win against South Africa in penultimate over to trump Miller’s maiden ODI ton
Andre Russell muscled the West Indies to a dramatic one-wicket win in 48.3 overs on Sunday (January 25) in Port Elizabeth, smashing an unbeaten 64 off just 40 balls against South Africa.
The West Indies had just been reduced to 239 for 9 off the first ball of the 48th over after Carlos Brathwaite was run out in his attempt to get Russell back on strike. Sheldon Cottrell, the left-arm pace bowler on ODI debut, faced the next ball against Aaron Phangiso and managed to take a single.
Russell heaved two sixes but had to settle for two runs as a certain boundary was saved by David Miller near deep cover. Phangiso served a wide delivery and Russell ran a single off the extra ball of the over to keep the strike for the 49th over.
A length ball from Kyle Abbott was punished with a four and though he made amends with a yorker next, Russell got hold of his third delivery and deposited it over long-on for a huge six that sealed the win.
South Africa already has a winning lead in the series, but Russell’s heroics ensured the scoreline moved to 3-1, with a match to play.
Earlier, Miller had showed remarkable composure in hitting a maiden ODI century, but though he lifted South Africa to 262 for 8, it proved just short in the end. The game will be remembered for Russell nearly single-handedly taking West Indies across the line, but there were also contributions from Marlon Samuels (68) and Darren Sammy (51), alongwith Jason Holder's four-wicket haul.
Chasing 262 against an attack that was missing some big names, all of whom were rested, the West Indies didn't get off to a great start as it slipped to 73 for 5 in the 21st over.
Morne Morkel steamed in and knocked over Dwayne Smith's middle stump in the first over to set the tone. Chris Gayle survived Morkel's probing overs but handed a simple catch off JP Duminy in the seventh over, to give the offspinner a wicket off his first ball.
Denesh Ramdin was trapped in front by Farhaan Behardien, but that dismissal was sandwiched between the run-outs of Leon Johnson and Jonathan Carter, with Samuels at the non-striker's end, as the West Indies had lost half its side before the halfway mark.
Samuels, however, began to rebuild the innings with Sammy. The boundaries suddenly started flowing as both batsmen brought up half-centuries.
But just as things were looking rosier for the West Indies, Wayne Parnell had Sammy caught by AB de Villiers for 51. Behardien then broke through Samuels's defences for 68. At 189 for 7, it seemed another win for South Africa was on the cards, but Russell had other ideas as he continued to hit boundaries with ease.
Earlier, Cottrell gave the West Indies a good start, dismissing Rilee Rossouw in his second over. Sammy, who returned to the side after missing the third ODI, made his presence felt immediately as he took an excellent low catch, eliciting a salute from Cottrell.
And when Denesh Ramdin too showed he could be nimble behind the stumps, South Africa slumped to 32 for 3, with du Plessis and Morne van Wyk falling early. Even de Villiers couldn't do much as he departed for 17, caught behind off Russell.
Miller and Duminy then rebuilt the innings with a 90-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
There were no easy runs for South Africa but Miller was prepared to grit it out, bringing up his fifty in 75 balls. But when Duminy offered a return catch to Sammy, and Behardien perished soon after, South Africa was 196 for 6 in the 43rd over.
However, Miller simply shifted gears, taking 14 and 18 runs off the 48th and 49th overs respectively. The 50th over, resulting in two wickets and only three runs, proved to be decisive as the total South Africa ended up with was decent, but not a match-winning one.
To see the full scorecard of the match between South Africa v West Indies, please click here.