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On song Warner sets up another win for Australia

Opener's ton lifts side to 288 for 6 before South Africa falls 36 runs short in tri-series game

On song Warner sets up another win for Australia - Cricket News
David Warner's scored his maiden ODI hundred on foreign soil.
David Warner fittingly used a ground that bears his surname to collect his first One-Day International hundred on foreign soil and lay the groundwork for Australia's 36-run victory over South Africa in in match four of the tri-series on Saturday (June 11) in Basseterre.

The Australia opener used the typical batting paradise that resides at Warner Park in the heart of the St. Kitts capital to extend the rich vein of form that Sunrisers Hyderabad rode on to seal the Indian Premier League title almost two weeks ago.

His 109 – his sixth ODI hundred – from 120 balls earned him the Player of the Match award and anchored Australia to 288 for 6 from its allocation of 50 overs, after it chose to bat in humid conditions.

Warner punctuated periods of steady accumulation with meaty blows around the wicket to give Australia a solid base, reaching his milestone from 109 balls, when he sliced a short, wide delivery – from Kyle Abbott – to third man for single.

Usman Khawaja gave him good support with 59 from 71 balls and shared a century second-wicket stand in a strong show of force from the top order, and Steve Smith, the skipper, made an unbeaten 52 from 49 balls to give the innings late momentum.

“It was good to get an ODI hundred away from home, but it was all about doing the best I can for the team,” said Warner. “It’s always good when you do well and the team does well.

“Being able to form a partnership of 100-odd with Usman was great, since we knew it was going to be harder for the guys coming in later. We knew after 25 overs it was going to be quite challenging to get the ball away.

“Though we lost two set batsmen in the space of five overs in the middle of the innings, it was good to see the skipper coming towards the end and getting a 50 to push things along.”

Though Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla gathered half-centuries to give South Africa a sniff of a successful run chase, the target was too steep for the Proteas to climb and it was dismissed for 252 in 47.4 overs.

Du Plessis hit the top score of 63, Amla made 60, JP Duminy got 41 and AB de Villiers added 39, but the rest of the batting caved under pressure against a disciplined, if not menacing Australian bowling attack. Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa and Josh Hazlewood collected three wickets apiece.

The result meant that Australia moved into pole position in the table on nine points – four ahead of South Africa – with West Indies, the home side, bringing up the rear on four points. The tournament continues on Monday, when West Indies faces Australia at this venue.

South Africa knew it had a fight on its hands, when it battled through the first 10 overs to reach 50 for the loss of Quinton de Kock, caught at deep square leg off Hazlewood in the eighth over.

Amla found a steady ally in du Plessis and they seemed to have put South Africa on course for a race to the finish in a second-wicket stand of 105. Amla reached his 50 from 49 balls, when he drove Aaron Finch to long-off for a single, and du Plessis reached his half-century in 54 balls with a sliced drive to third man for a single off Starc.

The two looked in supreme control and had just celebrated the 100-run partnership, when Amla tried to cut loose and was caught at extra cover off Hazlewood to leave South Africa needing 149 from the final 146 deliveries in the match.

South Africa suffered a major setback, when du Plessis failed to carry on and was spectacularly caught at backward point by a leaping George Bailey off Starc in the 32nd over.

De Villiers and Duminy started to claw South Africa back into contention, but they were two of five wickets for 30 that Australia claimed in the space of 45 balls that decided the outcome.

“I thought when (de Villiers) and I were batting, we were in complete control of the match and I thought it was next to impossible for us to lose,” said du Plessis.

“The wicket of myself gave them a bit of a sniff, but I felt even that once (de Villiers and Duminy) stayed there we still had a good chance of successfully chasing the runs. In the end, it was a case of a few of us giving soft wickets to the Australian team ... so between overs 30 and 40 was where we lost the game.”

Earlier, there was a 15-minute delay after the third over for the ground staff to drape the sightscreen affixed to the media centre at the northern end with black cloth following a complaint from Warner that it was glistening in the sunshine.

Australia suffered a setback to its early momentum, when Finch was bowled, essaying a sweep at Imran Tahir in the 10th over. But Warner and Khawaja gradually wore down South Africa’s bowlers in the searing heat with a 136-run second-wicket stand.

Warner reached 50 from 53 balls, when he drove Wayne Parnell through cover off the back foot for a single, and continued merrily to his hundred. Khawaja reached his 50 from 58 balls, when he punched Abbott to mid-off for a single, two deliveries after Warner reached triple figures.

Warner was caught at mid-wicket from a miscued pull at a short delivery, the first ball after the second refreshment break, from Wayne Parnell, leaving Australia 184 for 5 in the 35th over and this triggered a period of instability.

The ICC Cricket World Cup champion lost three more wickets in the space of the next 40 balls – Khawaja caught at mid-wicket to a miscued slog sweep off Tahir, who also trapped Bailey lbw playing across for 11 before Mitchell Marsh was caught at wide long-on off Abbott for 10.

Matthew Wade was just getting into the swing of things when he was lbw to Kagiso Rabada for 24, but Smith belted five fours and a six in the closing stages to beef up the total.

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