South Africa v Australia Fifth ODI
Wednesday October 12. 10:30pm AEDT
After another convincing loss, Australia will be hoping to avoid a humiliating whitewash by claiming a belated victory in the fifth and final ODI in Cape Town on Wednesday.
Despite making a raft of team changes and losing another toss, the hosts quickly asserted themselves in Port Elizabeth by reducing the Aussies to 5/49 before eventually knocking them over for just 167 in 36.4 overs. Brought into the side in the absence of regular new ball pair Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada, paceman Kyle Abbott made the most of his opportunity by claiming 4/40 including the key scalps of openers David Warner and Aaron Finch.
Spinners Tabraiz Shamsi and Aaron Phangiso also impressed after being drafted into the starting XI, taking a combined 5/53 off 14.4 overs, showcasing the Proteas’ riches of depth which has been found severely lacking within the visitors’ squad.
Despite losing their own openers cheaply, the home side never looked in danger of failing to reach the modest target largely thanks to a becalming 69 from captain Faf du Plessis, while the powerful Rilee Rossouw continued his impressive series with an undefeated 33. If South Africa can wrap up a 5-0 series win it will be the first time they have claimed a series by that margin since May 2010 when the West Indies found themselves on the wrong side of all five ODIs.
However they will have to do so without middle-order powerhouse David Miller who has been ruled out for a couple of weeks after sustaining a groin injury during his match-winning knock in Durban. It also remains to be seen whether frontline options Steyn, Rabada and Imran Tahir will again be rested or whether they will make one final appearance in Cape Town.
After their bowlers repeatedly let them down it was the turn of the Australian batsmen to deliver an underwhelming performance with their first innings score of 167 their lowest batting first in their last 15 ODIs. Seven players were dismissed in single figures with the only glimmer of hope coming via half-centuries to Mitchell Marsh (50 off 72) and Matthew Wade (52 off 58) who did their best to haul the World Champions to a respectable total.
After thumping an unbeaten 23 with the bat, rookie quick Chris Tremain picked up a couple of early wickets to finish with 2/48 but the South Africans were never seriously threatened as they sauntered to another comfortable victory. Australia are now in their worst losing streak in this format for seven-and-a-half years which was the last time they lost five straight ODIs.
The series scoreline is also borne out in individual statistics with none of the Australian bowlers averaging less than 30, nor conceding less than six runs an over, while amongst the batsmen David Warner is the sole representative to average over 40 despite the fact that the majority of the series has been played in favourable batting conditions.
The unused Usman Khawaja will be itching for an opportunity in those conditions and could be brought in with Aaron Finch or George Bailey most likely to make way. Tremain’s spell at St George’s Park should ensure he retains his place and Joe Mennie may be given one final chance, having only played the solitary match in the series so far.
Newlands has tended to favour the bowlers in recent ODIs with the last three first innings scores coming in at 236, 218 and 220, although conditions are volatile as the first innings total in the match prior to those was a whopping 6/354. The side batting first has won four of the past six ODIs here, while the home side have an incredibly strong record in Cape Town, winning 11 of the past 13 ODIs at the ground, including both clashes with Australia.
- South Africa have now won five of their last six ODI series’.
- South Africa have also won their last six ODI series’ at home.
- Faf du Plessis has top-scored in five of his past 12 ODIs against Australia.
- Australia haven’t lost five straight ODIs since February 2009.
- None of the Australian bowlers have conceded less than six runs an over throughout the series.
The market just refuses to lose all faith in Australia and while the hosts are the more fancied side, the difference in the odds is not what you’d expect given the way the series has played out to date.
In Port Elizabeth, South Africa proved that their squad players can certainly handle themselves at this level with Abbott, Shamsi and Phangiso all hitting the ground running and playing a key part in the Proteas’ fourth victory.
On the other hand the Australians have shown no signs whatsoever of being able to turn their dismal form around, and if anything they have got worse as the series has progressed.
This is not the same ODI side – both in personnel and attitude – that had previously swept all before them, and with little to play for up against a rampant home side I cannot see them any closer to a victory.
At home in the conditions and on a roll, I just can’t ignore the claims of the hosts at this price and will happily back them outright to inflict a rare 5-0 series defeat on the undermanned and overwhelmed Australians.
In addition to backing the home side it’s also worth considering the merits of their stand-in captain Faf du Plessis who has ensured that the loss of AB de Villiers has been all but forgotten. Du Plessis has led with aplomb, both in the field, but particularly with the bat, top-scoring in both Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg.
That means that du Plessis has now top-scored in three of his past eight ODIs and five of his past 12 ODIs against Australia. Boasting a current average just below 50 against the Antipodeans I’m also willing to back du Plessis to top-score again here.
BACK – South Africa at 1.75 or better for 2 units.
BACK – Faf du Plessis Top South Africa Batsman at 4.50 or better for 1 unit.