The Proteas threatened to once again throw away a great start, but a late blitz took them to an above par 280-6 in Sydney on Sunday.
Stand in captain Hashim Amla won the toss and elected to bat first. He added 54 for the first wicket with Quinton de Kock before being caught behind for 18. Rilee Rossouw walked in at No 3, his usual position in domestic cricket, and looked in control from the start.
The two young left-handers flourished, putting on 107 and taking the score to 161 before Rossouw chipped one straight to mid-on. He went for a 71-ball 51, his first half-century in ODI’s. His departure seemed to spark the middle-order collapse that has plagued South Africa throughout the series, as Faf du Plessis and David Miller departed for two and five, respectively.
At the other end, De Kock brought up his maiden ODI century on Australian soil. He eventually fell for 107 off 123 deliveries to leave the scoreboard reading 206-5 in the 41st over. Farhaan Behardien and Wayne Parnell were both new at the crease and a repeat of their dismal last 10 overs in Melbourne looked on the cards.
Behardien stood up to be counted, mirroring what he’s done successfully for the Titans, smashing 63 off just 41 balls at the death. Parnell played the supporting role, finishing on 18 not out off 21 balls. Their efforts in the last nine overs propelled the total to a defendable 280-6.