Wednesday 27 August 2014 

De Villiers, Du Plessis Brilliance Downs Australia

AB de Villiers and JP Duminy embrace
AB de Villiers (right) and JP Duminy were at the crease when the game was won for South Africa
© REUTERS / Action Images
 
Faf du Plessis hits out
Faf du Plessis struck his maiden ODI century to help de Villiers add 206 for the third wicket
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

South Africa 328-3 (de Villiers 136no) beat
Australia 327-7 (Finch 102) by seven wickets
One-Day International tri-series, Harare
Scorecard

Centuries from AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis enabled South Africa to chase down a target of 328 with more than three overs to spare and beat Australia by seven wickets in game two of the One-Day International tri-series in Harare.

De Villiers, unbeaten on 136 in 106 balls, batted for large parts of his innings with cramp to take South Africa home after Australia had hit 327 for nine earlier in the day.

Aaron Finch struck102, George Bailey made 66 and returning opener Phil Hughes cracked 51 but they still didn't have enough on the board to beat South Africa.

Du Plessis reached three figures in an ODI for the first time, hitting 106 in 98 balls and his 206-run stand for the third wicket with de Villiers turned the game decisively in his side's favour.

JP Duminy helped apply the finishing touches with 33 not out as South Africa got past their target in 46.3 overs.

With Michael Clarke still struggling with his hamstring injury and not able to play, Bailey continued as captain for Australia who left out off-spinner Nathan Lyon to accommodate Hughes' return at the top of the order.

South Africa recalled Hashim Amla, de Villiers, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, all of whom had been rested for the end of the recent series win over Zimbabwe as Kyle Abbott, Mthokosizi Shezi, Rilee Rossouw and Aaron Phangiso missed out.

Hughes, who scored two double-centuries for Australia A recently to force his way back into contention, wasted little time in proving he was worthy of his place as he and Finch put on 92 together for the first wicket.

Hughes hit 51 in 63 balls before falling to Imran Tahir, who swiftly struck again to trap Mitchell Marsh, in at number three, in front.

Finch, striking 102 in 116 balls, and Bailey, making 66 in 54, then combined to put together 114 for the fourth wicket, almost doubling Australia's score.

It gave them the platform to push on past 300, which they managed thanks to Steve Smith hammering 31 in 19 balls and Mitchell Johnson 23 not out in eight, without breaking any commentary box windows.

Morkel and Ryan McLaren joined Tahir in taking two wickets while Steyn returned one for 54.

The start of South Africa's reply could not match Australia's as Quinton de Kock (19) and Amla (24) fell to Mitchell Starc (2-62) and Kane Richardson (1-68) respectively.

That brought du Plessis and de Villiers together in the ninth over with the score on 51 for two. There they would stay until the 38th over having played outstanding innings, combating everything Australia tried against them.

Despite being troubled by cramps, de Villiers, whose century took just 84 balls, hit 11 fours and two sixes during his innings while du Plessis hit 11 fours and one six before he was caught by Smith off Starc.

There was to be no late comeback from Australia, however, as Duminy needed just 29 balls to hit 33 including the winning runs.

Hosts Zimbabwe, the other team involved, are in action on Friday when they play South Africa in the third game of the tournament.

Australia beat them by 198 runs in the first match.

© Cricket World 2014