ODI tri-series Final: Steyn and du Plessis help South Africa win ODI tri-series

South Africa pose with the trophy after winning the ODI tri-series

South Africa pose with the trophy after winning the ODI tri-series

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

South Africa pace maestro Dale Steyn picked up four wickets and batsman Faf du Plessis scored a spectacular 96 to help the Proteas beat Australia by six wickets in the ODI tri-series final in Harare.

Steyn and du Plessis were well supported by South Africa captain AB de Villiers, who hit an unbeaten 57, and opening batsman Hashim Amla, who made 51.

However, Australia opener Aaron Finch deserves some credit as he struck a valiant 54.

De Villiers would have been thrilled with his decision to bowl first after he himself took the catch to dismiss Australia opener Phillip Hughes off the bowling of Dale Steyn for 15 runs.

Steven Smith only made 10 runs before he was caught by David Miller at mid-on off the bowling of Wayne Parnell.

Australia stand-in captain George Bailey failed to help his side as he was clean bowled by Imran Tahir for 12 runs.

Finch was Australia’s top-scorer with 54 runs, which came off 87 balls and included five boundaries, before he was cleaned up by Steyn.

Finch made a gutsy 54

Finch made a gutsy 54

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Steyn struck again the very next ball when Glenn Maxwell was trapped lbw for a golden duck.

Mitchell Marsh managed to make 27 runs before he had his stumps shattered by Parnell.

Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin scored six runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Steyn.

Mitchell Johnson fared no better as he was caught by Aaron Phangiso at deep square leg off the bowling of Morne Morkel.

James Faulkner and Mitchell Starc injected a dose of life into Australia’s innings as they amassed a 71-run partnership before Faulkner was caught by Miller at long-on off the bowling of Morkel.

Starc ended up making an unbeaten 29 as Australia finished on 217/9 off their 50 overs.

Steyn was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Morkel and Parnell snapped up two wickets apiece and Tahir chipped in with one.

Steyn dismissed Hughes, Finch, Maxwell and Haddin

Steyn dismissed Hughes, Finch, Maxwell and Haddin

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Chasing 218 to win, South Africa got off to a horrible start as opening batsman Quinton de Kock was caught by Bailey in the cover region off the bowling of Maxwell for seven runs.

Du Plessis and Amla made up for the early loss of de Kock with a 98-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, before Amla was also caught by Bailey in the covers, but only off the bowling of Smith.

Amla’s brilliant knock of 51 came off 75 balls and included two boundaries.

Amla scored a vital 51

Amla scored a vital 51

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Parnell accumulated six runs before he was cleaned up by Faulkner.

Du Plessis and de Villiers steadied the innings with a 91-run partnership, during which de Villiers registered his half-century, before du Plessis was caught by Faulkner at mid-on off the bowling of Johnson when trying to hit the winning runs and get to his third consecutive ODI century.

Du Plessis’ superb innings of 96 came off 99 deliveries and included eight boundaries and a six.

Du Plessis' sublime form with the bat continued

Du Plessis’ sublime form with the bat continued

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

De Villiers ended up finishing the game the very next ball when he smashed a boundary over the cover region.

De Villiers remained undefeated on 57 off 41 balls, which included six boundaries and two sixes, as South Africa were crowned champions.

De Villiers hammered six boundaries and two sixes during his knock of 57

De Villiers hammered six boundaries and two sixes during his knock of 57

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Johnson, Maxwell, Faulkner and Smith claimed one wicket each.

Bailey was gutted to have lost the final, and said: “We were 70-80 short, but we were outplayed. It was challenging to bat at the start, once again, credit to South Africa, their spinners were tight, their top four almost all got starts. It’s really good to see Phil Hughes do really well, and other youngsters as well.”

De Villiers was ecstatic to have won the ODI tri-series, and said: “We had to work really hard, we have played for a month now here, we have developed the skill to swing it both ways. Lots of credit to Faf, we could build our innings around him. I really wanted to be there at the end, we wanted to extend it. The fact that we are starting to win games under pressure shows we are on the right track, but there is definitely room for improvement. We will try to get things 100% for the big tournament.”

Steyn edged out du Plessis for the Man of the Match award, and said: “Been looking for some wickets, getting it in the final is always good. Trying to always take wickets. Think I found my length today, I have been searching for that in the last 4-5 games.”

However, du Plessis was named Man of the Series for scoring 464 runs at a sensational average of 92.80.

“I’ve been given an opportunity to make the No. 3 spot mine, luckily I have been able to score some runs,” he said. “I’ve been hitting the ball well, definitely it is a position where I get the time to set up my innings. I’m getting used to the role now, I’m beginning to enjoy it. The second hundred against Australia which we lost was the one I thought I was hitting the ball best.”

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