The Proteas posted the third-highest ever ODI total at Newlands as they aim for the whitewash against Australia.
Rilee Rossouw celebrated his recent Test call-up for the series Down Under in fine style, scoring an excellent 122 to give his side every chance of inflicting Australia’s first-ever 5-0 defeat in an ODI series.
If the tourists want to salvage anything from this they will have to do so in record-breaking fashion. The highest-ever successful chase at the iconic Cape Town ground is 258-7, when the Proteas beat New Zealand way back in 2000. It was also the third-highest total, surpassing the 291-5 against England in 2005.
The hosts brought back four big names to their starting XI, including David Miller, who hasn’t played since his century at Kingsmead due to a groin injury. Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir all returned, forcing Tabraiz Shamsi, Aaron Phangiso and Dwaine Pretorius out of the side. Kyle Abbott’s Man-of-the-Match 4-40 from Port Elizabeth kept him in the side.
Winning the toss and electing to bat first, the South Africans actually got off to quite a shaky start. Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla appeared to be building up a fluent partnership at first with a series of excellent strokes, but De Kock would find the close fielder to depart for 12.
Two more wickets fell quickly, as Hashim Amla (25) and skipper Faf du Plessis (11) were both clean bowled from Australia’s only replacement for the match Joe Mennie.
Rossouw and JP Duminy were quick to ignore the dangers of a collapse by continuing to play positively. The shot-making along the ground was exquisite as they built up a brisk stand. Rossouw reached his third fifty of the tournament off a run-a-ball, before Duminy found the form that saw him get 82 in the second ODI with a fifty of his own.
Their stand built up to a massive 178 runs as the bowlers, as they have all series, took a beating. Mennie was the only one who appeared up for the task as he took his third wicket to see off Duminy for 73, but Rossouw pushed on with the run rate constantly hovering above six over.
Rossouw then brought up his third ODI century and his first since January 2015. His hundred, just like his fifty, came off a run a ball, a true measure of the brilliance of the knock. It will be difficult to leave the 27-year-old out of the lineup from here with one eye on the Champions Trophy next year. Together with David Miller, the pair eased past what could be the highest successful run chase here, which will leave the Australians nervous of avoiding the whitewash.
Miller ploughed on and continued his good knick of form. A couple of wickets fell late on, including Andile Phehlukwayo (11) and then Miller for a 29-ball 39, but a late slog from Rabada (9 off 6) got them to an extremely competitive total.
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