Proteas batsman Du Plessis has scored 401 runs at an average of 66 in six ODIs on the current tour of Zimbabwe. Photo by: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

Johannesburg – Proteas' batsman Faf du Plessis has expressed his desire to cash in on his current purple patch with the national ODI squad in Zimbabwe.

Du Plessis has scored 401 runs at an average of 66 in six ODIs on the current tour, and has been the standout performer in testing conditions.

“I've said before that my job is to score hundreds,” he told journalists after the Proteas' 62-run loss to Australia on Tuesday.

“I ticked that box, but getting a hundred and crossing your team over the line is much sweeter.

“Even when I was scoring I always felt like it was too far away because we kept on losing wickets.

“I'm hitting the ball nicely, but I feel I can still improve quite a bit,” he added.

“I'm enjoying the number three role. I think it suits me a lot better than it did at number six.

“What is really important for me is to get big runs when you are in some sort of form. It 1/8form 3/8 can change really quickly, I need to make sure I keep putting in big runs for the team.”

Du Plessis lamented the lack of partnerships in the middle order, which failed to fire once again.

“The way the wickets play here is the reason for that,” he said of the middle-order collapse.

“The ball gets slower so it's difficult when you come in as a new batter to score runs.

“It's definitely the toughest time of the innings to bat. In saying that, you need to make sure that when you get a partnership going you extend it as long as possible.”

Du Plessis felt Mitchell Marsh's blitz at the end of Australia's innings was the difference between the sides.

“I think if we pinpoint an area where we probably lost the game it was when Mitchell Marsh fired at the end of 1/8Australia's 3/8 innings,” he said.

“Their innings was set up to reach 240 or 250 and we had a brilliant bowling performance until then. He played fantastic cricket shots, but we as a bowling unit will be disappointed that we allowed him to score so many sixes.”

The Proteas play their last pool match of the series against Zimbabwe on Thursday. – Sapa