Australia pulled off a brilliant comeback three-wicket win against South Africa in the first ODI match at Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Thursday, September 7. Captain Temba Bavuma recorded an unbeaten hundred to help South Africa score a total of 222 runs while batting first. Australia struggled in the chase but Marnus Labuschagne played a match-winning knock of 70* runs off 80 balls while coming in as a substitute to snatch a win away from the hosts.
Stand-in skipper Mitchell Marsh won the toss and elected to field first as the majority of ODI regulars returned to the team. South Africa also fielded a strong team but the speedster Anrich Nortje failed to make the playing eleven again. Marsh’s decision to bowl first proved successful as Australian pacers, especially the world’s no.1 ODI bowler Josh Hazlewood, dominated the first innings.
South Africa lost their top-ranked batters Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen with just 33 runs on the scoreboard. But opener Bavuma kept the scorecard moving from one end with sensible and controlled batting. He didn’t get any support from the other end apart from a 32-run cameo from Marco Jansen. Bavuma scored a sensational hundred and remained unbeaten on 114 runs as he ran out of partners. Hazlewood took three wickets while Marcus Stoinis picked two to bowl out the Proteas on 222 runs in 49 overs.
However, the hosts were able to produce a good start while defending a low-score total. Marco Jansen bowled out veteran opener David Warner on the innings’ second delivery to add early pressure on Australia. The visiting side lost in-form Marsh in the sixth over to Kagiso Rabada‘s delivery and Cameron Green was forced to retire hurt after getting a hit by a ball on his left ear.
Gerald Coetzee was impressive with wickets of Alex Carey and Stoinis as Australia stumbled to seven wickets with just 113 runs on the scoreboard. But Labuschagne walked in as a substitute to Green and played a match-winning knock to snatch a win away from the Proteas. He added an unbeaten 112-run stand for the 8th wicket with spin all-rounder Ashton Agar. Labuschagne scored 80* off 93 while Agar added 48* off 69 to help Australia chase the target comfortably in 40.2 overs.
South Africa Playing XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Temba Bavuma (c), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Gerald Coetzee, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi
Australia Playing XI: David Warner, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh (c), Cameron Green, Josh Inglis, Alex Carey (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa