Twin tons see Proteas thwart Australia

Australia

South Africa made a chase of 328 look easy in Harare on Wednesday, reaching the target with more than three overs to spare as Australia's bowler were unable to cope with the hitting of Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers.

South Africa made a chase of 328 look easy in Harare on Wednesday, reaching the target with more than three overs to spare as Australia's bowler were unable to cope with the hitting of Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers.

The Australians score 327 for seven in their 50 overs, thanks to an Aaron Finch ton, but lost a number of late wickets and should have reached at least 350. Thus, the childhood friends were given the freedom to play, and made tons apiece.

South Africa won the toss and chose to bowl first on a superb batting deck, opting to know the devil they would face. The Aussies got off to a good start though, with Finch and Phil Hughes making 92 for the first wicket.

Hughes, in the side for the injured Michael Clarke, took advantage of his chance and scored a half century off 56 balls, but as bagged for 51 by Imran Tahir. The spinner then removed Mitchell Marsh soon afterwards, for five.

Finch continued on his merry way, in partnership with skipper George Bailey, who also racked up a fifty. At this point, it looked like the Proteas would be facing another historic 400-plus score.

But then the wheels fell of a bit when Finch, having scored his fourth ODI ton, got out for 102. He was caught by JP Duminy off Ryan McLaren, and Bailey fell 20 runs later, for 66, caught behind off Morne Morkel.

The last significant score was from Steve Smith, who added 31, but Glenn Maxwell and Brad Haddin both fell for single figures, as the lower order squandered the superb start. Even a score over 300 felt short, even at the innings break.

The Proteas' chase got off to a sedate and measured start, with Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock going at five to the over. The pair took the score to 44 before Amla was removed, and then De Kock soon followed.

This left Du Plessis and his Pretoria comrade to continue the chase. It wasn't full of fireworks, or silly shots, just a calm, composed composition of a stand, which reached the 200 mark, and then became the best third wicket stand for SA against the Aussies (206).

Du Plessis' century, reached at better than a run per ball, was his first in the format, astonishingly. This was his 51st ODI, and his relief at finally reaching three figures was obvious for the normally stern player.

He was out for 106 though, caught by Smith off Mitchell Starc, but the horse had already bolted. By this point, De Villiers had already reached his ton too, having survived two sitters put down, on my Mitchell Johnson and the other by Bailey.

The SA skipper made sure of the end result, with JP Duminy adding 33 not out, as they reached the target in the 47th over.

<b>South Africa:</b> Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Wayne Parnell, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.

<b>Australia:</b> Aaron Finch, Phillip Hughes, Mitchell Marsh, George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, Steven Smith, Brad Haddin, James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson.

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