This enmity towards Du Plessis intensified when he returned four years later when, now at the helm of the Proteas ship, led South Africa to a hat-trick of Test series victories on Australian soil even while chewing a mint in his mouth.
He was also there in Australia’s darkest hour on that fateful day in Cape Town, looking on with that cheeky smirk that gets under the skin of every Bruce and Sheila.
And now with the country’s premier summer pastime in the midst of its biggest crisis since the Kerry Packer revolution, there stands Du Plessis again turning the knife into the heart of Australian cricket.
Du Plessis and the Proteas will return home tomorrow with both white-ball trophies packed comfortably away in the luggage compartment. After the ODI series silverware was collected in Hobart last week, there was just enough time to pick up the T20 title too yesterday on the Gold Coast.
Although the weather interrupted what was meant to be a special occasion for the seaside town – it was the first time international cricket was played on the Gold Coast – the truncated 10-over contest was still enough time for Du Plessis’ Proteas to exert their dominance over the hosts just one final time. The skipper certainly enjoyed the performance, that resulted in a 21-run victory, and the tour as a whole.
“I have said many a time Australia is a really tough place to come and play cricket. It is a really strong team and the crowds are fully behind their national team. So, every time we come here we know it is going to be tough challenge.
"To get a series win in both white-ball formats is always a huge achievement. We will go back to South Africa with our heads high," Du Plessis said.
The Proteas were dominant in all facets of the game. They powered their way to 108 in the 10 overs, courtesy of openers Quinton de Kock (22 off 16 balls) and Reeza Hendricks (19 off eight balls) demolishing the three-over Powerplay period before Du Plessis banged 27 off 15 balls that put the visitors out of reach.
And when it was the bowlers’ turn, they were simply relentless. All-rounder Chris Morris marked his return to international cricket with figures of 2/12, while there were also double strikes for Andile Phehlukwayo (2/21) and Lungi Ngidi (2/16).
Left-arm Chinaman bowler Tabraiz Shamsi also chipped in with 1/12, that was enough to earn the Man of the Match award.
“Obviously getting wickets in T20 cricket is vital. Our bowlers stepped up for us, producing the goods. We tried to get our field placings right and our executions were good. All in all this has been a good tour for us," Du Plessis added.