South Africa cruised to a massive six-wicket victory over Australia in the third and final Momentum One Day International at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom on Saturday to whitewash their opponents three-nil.
It was a day to remember for Manus Labuschagne, who’s run-a-ball 108 anchored Australia to 254 for seven after being sent in to bat first by Quinton de Kock. But man-of-the-match Jon-Jon Smuts (84), Kyle Verreynne (50) and man of the series Heinrich Klaasen (68 not out) made easy work of the chase, helping the home side to 258 for four, taking their tally of victories over Australia to 11 in their last 12 matches.
Such was the ease at which the South Africans made of the pursuit, Klaasen had brought up his second half-century of the series when he was dropped by David Warner at mid-on, with the ball racing away to the long-on fence for four. Klaasen then finished off the match in style, driving and pulling Mitchell Marsh (1.3-0-21-0) for back-to-back boundaries before launching, what was to be, the last ball of the match for six down the ground to win the game in style, with 27 balls to spare.
Josh Hazlewood (10-1-37-2) made sure that Australia remained in the contest early on when he had De Kock (26) playing on to his stumps and then had Janneman Malan (23) edging behind to a diving Alex Carey behind the stumps. Smuts and Verreynne though, composed a wonderful 96-run stand for the third wicket off 103 deliveries with Verreynne bringing up his maiden ODI half-century in the process.
Despite Verreynne being caught on the deep mid-wicket fence by Labuschagne from the spin of Adam Zampa (10-0-45-1) just two balls after reaching his fifty, Klaasen provided some acceleration as he and Smuts added 79 from 88 balls for the fourth wicket before Smuts launched Kane Richardson (9-0-63-1) down the ground, only for Warner to collect easily with the Proteas still needing 26 runs for victory.
Verreynne himself was aggressive at times, pulling three sixes and driving three boundaries while Klaasen (10 fours) and Smuts (12 fours) collected 22 boundaries between them as Australia, missing both Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, found containing the home side’s batting line-up a difficult task.
With South Africa ending their home summer on a high with the series clean-sweep, the day belonged to Labuschagne, who was born about 50km’s South West of Potchefstroom. The right-handed Klerksdorp-born Australian entertained his family and friends who came to watch, crafting eight boundaries while sharing in valuable stands with D’Arcy Short (36), Marsh (32) and Jhye Richardson (24 not out).
Labuschagne and Short rescued their side with an 81-run stand for the fourth wicket off 97 deliveries after Warner (4), Aaron Finch (22) and Steve Smith (20) found themselves back in the hut with just 55 on the board. Anrich Nortje (7-0-35-2), debutante Daryn Dupavillon (6-0-21-1) and Andile Phehlukwayo (7-0-49-1) bowled well upfront. Smuts was the surprise, capturing the wickets of Short and Carey to end with 2-42 in nine overs.
Marsh’s 53-run stand for the fifth wicket with Labuschagne was brilliantly broken by Miller, who dived at short-cover and returned the ball to De Kock while laying down to see Marsh well-short of his ground.
What gave the Australian innings some credit was the seventh-wicket partnership between Labuschagne and Richardson as the pair scored 64 runs off only 45 balls to give the visitors something to bowl at. But the runs were nowhere near enough as the home side made easy work of the chase.
**as published on Supersport.com