After performing poorly in recent weeks, South Africa's bowlers had more pressure on them. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix
After performing poorly in recent weeks, South Africa's bowlers had more pressure on them. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

Proteas bowlers finally stand up in crucial Aussie win

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Feb 24, 2020

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PORT ELIZABETH - South Africa’s bowlers finally stood up, showed they had indeed learned lessons from past mistakes and earned a crucial win amidst a thunderous atmosphere at St George’s Park yesterday.

Neither team’s batsmen could accelerate the scoring as they would normally hope to do in the latter stages. However with SA’s bowlers having performed so poorly in the last few weeks, there was more pressure on them. Australia needed 43 off the last 30 balls with eight wickets in hand and when Alex Carey pumped the first ball of the 16th over bowled by Lungi Ngidi for six, it seemed the tourists would wrap up the match and series in a hurry.

But Ngidi bowled Carey three balls later, and then followed two outstanding overs from Kagiso Rabada. Yesterday Rabada bowled the 17th over and conceded just seven runs, and then the 19th in which he conceded just three runs one of which was a wide while also picking up the wicket of Matthew Wade.

So good were the South Africans at the “death” that David Warner, faced just six of the last 30 balls and even though he made an unbeaten 67 it proved insufficient with the Australian middle order collapsing against SA’s precision.

Tabraiz Shamsi deserves a lot of credit for his fine four-over spell conceding just 17 runs, while Dwaine Pretorius who replaced Andile Phehlukwayo did a fine impression of an off spinner bowling off 10 paces taking 1/29. That one wicket - of Steve Smith - was the result of a superb catch by Faf du Plessis on the long-on boundary. 

There was an even better catch later, this time Du Plessis utilising some of the rugby skills picked up at Affies to deliver a fine “diving pass” to David Miller on the long-off boundary - which Miller, having to throw himself forward as well - did brilliantly to hold onto ending Mitchell Marsh’s innings.

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SA’s innings was built on the back of another sparkling performance from skipper Quinton de Kock who scored 70. He, like Warner later, took advantage of the hard new ball in the powerplay and produced some thrilling strokes as SA looked on course for a total closer to 200 than they eventually managed.

The nature of the surface, the softer ball and some clever changes of pace, particularly by Kane Richardson (2/21) meant they scratched their way to 158, with Rassie van der Dussen’s 37 ultimately proving a valuable contribution.


South Africa 158/4

Australia 146/6

SA won by 12 runs.


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