A brilliant six-wicket haul by fast bowler Lungi Ngidi had Australia struggling to 271 all out in their 50 overs in the second ODI against South Africa in Bloemfontein on Wednesday, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
After looking set for a big total at the Manguang Oval, Ngidi and the rest of the Proteas bowlers restricted the visitors with some great bowling at the death of their innings.
Aaron Finch won the toss and decided to bat first as Ashton Agar returned to the ODI team in place of fast bowler Josh Hazelwood.
South Africa were dealt a big blow before the start of play when Cricket South Africa announced that Temba Bavuma had been withdrawn from the squad for the remainder of the ODI series to continue his full recovery from a hamstring injury.
It meant Jon-Jon Smuts was drafted into the team for the match, while Rassie van der Dussen was also brought back into the squad.
As expected, Finch and David Warner went on the attack early on, racing to 50-0 in only the seventh over.
But, Warner mistimed a cut shot off Lungi Ngidi’s bowling, which went straight to Janneman Malan at cover and the left-hander departed for 35.
Ngidi then struck in successive deliveries shortly after the first wicket by removing Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne.
Finch, though, kicked on with his solid start and together with D’Arcy Short, the pair rebuilt the Australian innings with the captain eventually reaching his 15th ODI half-century.
Anrich Nortje then ended the 77-run partnership by nicking Finch off for 69 as Australia cruised to 166-4 after 30 overs.
Short, who was dropped by Andile Phehlukwayo with his score on 11, was joined by Mitchell Marsh in the middle and continued to slowly tick along at a steady rate.
Clever batting by Short presented him with his maiden half-century in ODI cricket with Australia surpassing the 200-run mark.
After applying a great deal of pressure, Tabraiz Shamsi picked up his reward with the important wicket of Short, who was tempted into a short cut-shot only to pick out Malan at point. The left-hander departing for a valuable 69.
Marsh’s stay was also cut short when Phehlukwayo clean bowled him for 36 as the Proteas bowlers began to build some pressure towards the end of the innings.
Ngidi’s variations continued to trouble the batsmen and another slower one led to the end of Agar, who skyed it straight to Keshav Maharaj on the boundary.
And, the fast bowler’s efforts were rewarded with a very first five-wicket haul in ODI cricket with Alex Carey next to depart after trying to flick the ball over De Kock’s head.
Ngidi managed to pick up a sixth wicket when Pat Cummins was caught by Smuts for only six before Nortje got the final Australian wicket by trapping Mitchell Starc in front with the very last ball of the innings.
A career-best 6-58 in 10 overs by Ngidi meant Australia were unable to build towards a big total leaving the Proteas with a chase of 272.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (c, wk), Janneman Malan, Jon-Jon Smuts, Kyle Verreynne, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), D’Arcy Short, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa.
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