Proteas captain Faf du Plessis believes Hobart will always be a place South Africans “remember fondly” after the visitors clinched their first ODI series win in Australia since 2008-09 on Sunday.
Two seasons ago Du Plessis led the Proteas to a Test series victory at the very same Blundstone Arena and on Sunday was at the helm again here when his team clinched the series-decider by 40 runs.
Du Plessis is the first South African captain to now lead the Proteas to Test and ODI series’ success in Australia.
The skipper was central to the victory in the third ODI, with Du Plessis striking 125 that formed part of a match-winning 252-run partnership with David Miller (139 off 108 balls).
The Aussies replied with 280/9, and posed a genuine threat of overhauling the 320-run target when Shaun Marsh (106) and Marcus Stoinis (63) were at the crease, but South Africa’s pace-bowlers closed out the match by executing their game-plans to perfection in the final 10 overs.
"I thought we played our best game of cricket. We challenged ourselves to put in a performance. A high pressure game. From a batting point of view, we were, but from a death-bowling point of view we were excellent,” Du Plessis said at the post-match presser.
“It was really good that we could get tested against two set batsmen and the way we responded was great to see.
“Myself and Dave had to somehow get a score together, we talked about trying to get to 240 but with Dave's power we were able to get going. We'll remember this place fondly."
Equally, Du Plessis’ counterpart Aaron Finch believed the difference between the two teams was the final 10 overs of the respective innings.
Whereas the Proteas bludgeoned 130 runs during that period, the Aussies were limited to 65 runs for the loss of five wickets.
"Every time you get a couple of set batters at the end of the innings it's hard to contain. They bowled exceptionally well at the end, credit to them in the last 10 overs,” Finch said.
“After 35 overs we were in a great position, but they took it away at the end. With the short boundary, once you get in you can really cash in.
“They batted extremely well. That partnership between Marcus and Shaun was outstanding to give us a chance to launch.
“If we'd been at that point two down, we'd have been a chance, but not to be."
The two teams have a week’s break before they meet in a one-off T20 International on the Gold Coast in Brisbane next Saturday, November 17.@ZaahierAdams