A brilliant maiden ODI century by Janneman Malan steered the Proteas to a six-wicket win over Australia in the second ODI in Bloemfontein on Wednesday, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
The victory has handed the Proteas an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series with the final ODI set to take place in Potchefstroom on Saturday.
The Proteas were set a target of 272 to chase down for victory after Lungi Ngidi starred with the ball by taking a career-best six wickets for 58 runs in his 10 overs.
Temba Bavuma was ruled out for the remainder of the ODI series before play got under way, which meant another chance for Jon-Jon Smuts to capitalise on in the batting lineup.
Captain Quinton de Kock’s struggles with facing Mitchell Starc continued once again as his stumps were sent flying in the first over for a third time since the Aussies arrived in the country.
Janneman Malan steadied the ship for the Proteas with Smuts at the other end as they knocked their way to a valuable 50-run stand.
Smuts, though, fell to Adam Zampa when he offered a half-hearted approach to a shot that he wanted to send into the stands. Instead he was easily caught on the boundary by Pat Cummins for 41.
Malan, on the other hand, managed to make up for his first-ball duck from Saturday by bringing up his first ODI half-century.
Kyle Verreynne didn’t last long, chipping Cummins straight to Mitchell Marsh at mid-wicket for a disappointing three.
Heinrich Klaasen was the next man in and he continued where he left off from his impressive century in Paarl by assisting Malan to grind down to the Australian total.
He cleverly fought his way to a patient half-century but would crack to the pressure Zampa had been building when he went for a sweep shot, which was top-edged and safely taken Aaron Finch.
David Miller joined Malan in the middle and the pair kept the run rate intact to bring up another valuable 50-run partnership for the Proteas. This to a massive moment in the young career of Malan as he notched up his maiden ODI century. He ended with 129 off 139 deliveries and shared Man of the Match honours with Ngidi.
The Proteas needed 36 runs from the final five overs for victory and the pair became a bit more aggressive as they went in search of more regular boundaries.
Miller struck the winning runs with a brilliant four in the second-last over to hand the South Africans another comprehensive victory.
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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