Aaron Finch’s side will head to Sunday’s decider in Hobart buoyed by Australia’s first win in the short format since January and having delivered some badly needed cheer for the struggling cricket nation.
Australia ended a seven-match losing streak in one-day internationals with a seven-run win over South Africa at the Adelaide Oval on Friday to even the three-match series. After Australia was all out for 231 after being sent in to bat, the home side restricted South Africa to 224 for nine, with Marcus Stoinis taking 3 for 35. Alex Carey top-scored with 47 from 72 balls for Australia, Chris Lynn added 44 from 44 deliveries, and captain Aaron Finch 41 from 63 balls.
The win set up a series-deciding third match in Hobart on Sunday. South Africa won the first match in Perth by six wickets. Josh Hazlewood took 2-42 and Pat Cummins 1-27 to add to fellow fast bowler Stoinis’ performance. The South Africans slipped to 4-68 inside 15 overs before David Miller (51 from 71 balls) and captain Faf du Plessis rallied.
They put the chase on pace with a game-high 74-run partnership before du Plessis (47 from 65 balls) hit his stumps from Cummins’ bowling. The South Africa captain’s departure started a slide of 5-60. “I thought we defended our total well, and it keeps the series alive,” man-of-the-match Finch said. “We needed our quicks to come through. We knew we had to bowl them out to win, we just had to keep rolling the dice.”
Du Plessis said Australia put continuous pressure on his side. “We lost wickets up front, we needed one more batter to come up,” du Plessis said. “We need to refocus for Sunday.”
The Australians were all out in 48.3 overs _ the seventh time in their past eight one-day internationals they have failed to bat out their allotted overs. South Africa paceman Kagiso Rabada picked up 4-54, Dwaine Pretorius took 3-32 and Dale Steyn had 2-31 from 10 overs.