South Africa vs Australia 2020: Janneman Malan, Lungi Ngidi help Proteas clinch ODI series
- Janneman Malan's brilliant 129* and Lungi Ngidi's career-best 6/58 helped South Africa seal the ODI series.
Australia: 271 all-out (50 overs)
South Africa: 274-4 (48.3 overs)
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Another professional performance from the Proteas saw them clinch the three-match ODI series with an unassailable 2-0 lead. Janneman Malan scored an unbeaten century (129*) while Lungi Ngidi finished with career-best figures of 6-58.
Chasing 272 runs to win, South Africa were struck by a huge setback in the form of skipper Quinton de Kock who departed without troubling the score. However, JJ Smuts later joined Janneman Malan and the duo added 91 runs for the second wicket, thereby stabilising the chase and creating a proper launchpad.
Malan continued his brilliant inning and reached his maiden ODI century while Heinrich Klassen and David Miller played their roles in the chase to perfection. Klassen scored a well-made 51 while Miller remained unbeaten with Malan on 37 as South Africa chased down the target with six wickets in hand and more than an over to spare.
Earlier, Australia opted to bat first and got off to a great start as skipper Aaron Finch and David Warner added 50 runs for the first wicket in just six overs. However, Ngidi provided the breakthrough and Warner departed for 35.
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Finch carried on and made a good contribution of 69 and added some crucial runs in his 77-run partnership with D'Arcy Short, who himself scored 69 runs. Another partnership between Short and Mitchell Marsh saw Australia reach closer to the 300-run mark but some great death bowling meant that they were bowled out for 271 in their 50 overs.
Lungi Ngidi's career-best 6/58
Warner and Finch had given Australia a flying start and had added 50 runs in just six overs. A breakthrough was needed for the Proteas and Ngidi stepped up and provided the breakthrough of the dangerous Warner.
Steve Smith then joined Finch at the crease and the duo looked to set a good platform for other batsmen to follow. However, Ngidi struck once again to remove Smith early. What's more, he struck again and this time it was on the very next ball as Marnus Labuschagne was out for a golden duck.
Partnerships between Finch and Short (77 runs) and Short and Marsh (66 runs) gave Australia a brilliant platform and a total of 300 seemed gettable. However, Ngidi was not done yet as he showcased some amazing death bowling. Picking up the wickets of Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins and Alex Carey, Ngidi sucked all the momentum out of Australia's inning and recorded career-best figures of 6/58.
Janneman Malan's maiden ODI ton
272 was a decent enough score to defend and the Proteas losing one of their key batsmen in the very first over meant that the pressure was immense on the rest of the lineup. However, Malan sucked up all the initial pressure created by both Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc and then gradually began to build his innings.
He first created a strong platform for South Africa's chase along with JJ Smuts. After Smuts and Kyle Verrynne departed in quick succession, Malan made sure he kept the tempo of the chase going.
Klassen and Miller were able to play their natural game only because Malan was able to find boundaries and rotate the strike at regular intervals. Malan reached his maiden ODI ton and remained unbeaten on 129, thus carrying his bat through the inning which included seven fours and four sixes. The composure shown by the 23-year-old is a positive sign for the Proteas going ahead.
Seldom in cricket do we find two players receiving the man of the match awards. This was because both Ngidi and Malan had made almost equal impacts and both absolutely deserved the praise for their efforts.
These were Malan's thoughts after the game:
Fortunately, put the first ball away for a single. Compliments to the bowlers, it was brilliant, Jon Jon for steadying the ship, Heinrich for his run-a-ball fifty. There was a bit of a chat about targets after 30 overs. The partners kept me calm when I was itching a bit. They said "you need to bat through." It was well composed by the team. With the sun going down, it was skidding a bit more, the ball got a little bit wet in the outfield and it (batting) was a bit easier.
These were Ngidi's thoughts after the game:
Very happy. I was given a challenge before the game by the coach; you have to knock over the top three and I came in with that mentality. I am using a lot of cross-seam and bit of scrambled seam as well which is beneficial and a lot of slower ones at the death. We have been told to work hard on our death bowling, so coming out with those skills and restricting a team is a good thing. I have been very confident right now and looking to keep the momentum going.Published 05 Mar 2020, 01:36 IST