AB de Villiers made a welcome return to the Proteas fold with 63, guiding his side to 169 in the decider against Sri Lanka at Newlands.
A late inclusion to the side after smashing an unbeaten 134 for Northerns on Sunday, De Villiers donned national clothing for the first time since June last year, and looked every bit the star that his side have been missing for so long.
Coming in at No 3, the ODI skipper took a couple of overs to get his eye in and bagged his first run after five balls, but it was plain sailing from there, smashing three sixes and two fours for his 44-ball 63.
Always perceived to be somewhat of an underperformer in this format for the Proteas, he easily looked the most comfortable in the middle, brining up his ninth half-century in the process.
After losing the second match in the final over at the Wanderers, the hosts made three changes to the side, bringing in opener Reeza Hendricks and debutant Dane Paterson at the expense of Heino Kuhn and Aaron Phangiso respectively, while De Villiers came in for Theunis de Bruyn.
Hendricks and Jon Jon Smuts batted beautifully in the Powerplay overs, finding the gaps with ease to coast to 27 off the first three overs. Smuts, after being dropped to a skier the over before, was then trapped lbw for 19, but Hendricks powered on with De Villiers as they took their stand to 73.
By the end of the 11th over however, the pair had only found the boundary on three occasions. Sensing the need to up the run rate, De Villiers proceeded to hit sixes in consecutive overs, before Hendricks fell for 41.
With De Villiers cruising and looking good value to go past his high score of 79, he then popped one straight to point, this after David Miller was caught for one. When Farhaan Behardien was run out for six the next over, the Sri Lankans seized the advantage.
A useful cameo from Mangaliso Mosehle turned into a huge knock from the wicketkeeper in the final over, slapping three sixes in the first four balls to get his side close to 170, scoring 32 off 15 balls to leave the Sri Lankans with a bit of work to do to win the series.
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