The second ODI between Australia and South Africa, at the Adelaide Oval was the chance for South Africa to secure a series victory.
Faf du Plessis again, won the toss and again elected to bowl first on what looked like a good batting wicket. Commentators were questioning this decision, asking if Faf had given away the advantage and missed an opportunity to bat first and bat well.
Despite the early wicket of Travis Head for 8, bowled by Lungi Ngidi, the batting started well for Australia, as they made 58-1 in the first power play, a stark difference from their 19-3 in the first game. Aggressive and positive batting by captain, Finch and Shaun Marsh, who was brought into the team today at the expense of D’Arcy Short brought up a 50-run partnership.
KG Rabada struck to remove Shaun Marsh for 33 in a timely wicket.
Australia were looking to set a target of around 270 as Chris Lynn and Adam Carey were batting well together. Lynn took the attack to KG, as he was hit for 18 runs in his 6th over, but KG had the final laugh as he had Lynn dismissed for 44.
Rabada wasn’t finished there, he is the wicket-taking match winner for this Proteas team, he ripped the heart out of the Aussie middle order with the wickets of Marsh (22), Lynn (44) and Carey (47).
He is a brilliant bowler, who doesn’t give up fighting. He is always thinking, he is always trying to get wickets, his over to Lynn was a key example of this, he had been hit for 18 runs, had one ball left, and could have taken the safe option of trying to get a dot ball, but being the aggressive wicket-taker, he gave himself the best chance of getting a wicket, and he was well rewarded with the wicket of Lynn.
This is the difference between South African sides gone by, having the attacking mind-set with the bowling. With two attacking bowlers in Dale Steyn and KG Rabada, South Africa’s bowling is well set.
Australia went from 166-4 to 187-8, losing 4-21 in a remarkable passage of play, that on a batting friendly wicket, they still couldn’t bat out their full allotment of overs. For the second match in a row, they were bowled out inside their 50 overs. This is an area they will look to improve on, given their good start.
The final wicket partnership of 27 hurt South Africa, as they would’ve hoped to bundle Australia out for just over 200 after the 9th wicket fell on 204. A sloppy performance from them in the death overs though allowed Zampa & Hazlewood that partnership, but at the lunch break, South Africa would’ve been the happier side.
Australia needed early wickets and once again, Quinton de Kock gifted his wicket away, trying to go big with a flick to fine leg and was caught. It was a soft dismissal from an experienced player that needed to set his team up with a good platform. QDK should feel disappointed with this.
Markram was then run out for 19. It was poor running and a poor technique, not looking at where the ball was that cost him this wicket. He turned with his back to the ball and was found short. It was an unnecessary wicket, a soft dismissal. Poor from the top order from the Proteas again.
Reeza Hendricks got a good one from Hazlewood, and typically, a couple of unnecessary wickets at the top of the order saw South Africa find themselves 48-3.
Time for South Africa’s middle order to shine.
That didn’t work when Klaasen pulled a short ball straight to mid-wicket. It was a completely unnecessary shot and one that put SA in trouble on 68-4.
It was up to Proteas captain, Faf du Plessis and experienced middle order batsman, David Miller to steady the ship for South Africa and guide them home. With a long tail and the inexperience of Pretorius at 7, it was up to these two batsmen to take them to the win.
They delivered with a great fightback partnership of 74, before Faf chopped one on back onto his stumps when on 47. Yet again, another Protea batsman gets into the 40s, does the hard work, and gets out without converting their score into a big one.
SA needed 90 runs with an inexperienced Preoritus and then the bowlers left to bat. Miller was their last hope.
Miller scored his 12 ODI half century, his 3rd against Australia and the 1st of the match in his elegant, composed and classy innings, he was the key for South Africa in the midst of the falling wickets around him. He has really grown in this role in South Africa’s middle order and is finally taking this role seriously.
But then disaster struck for the Proteas, Pretorius’ 14 off 32 balls slowed the game too much for the Proteas, and when he was dismissed, the Proteas needed 58 runs still with only the bowlers to come.
In my pre-series video, I called for the Proteas to do the basics right, that if they continued to play the same way as they did against Zimbabwe, with poor shot selection and poor application at the crease, this series wasn’t going to go well. They apparently didn’t learn their lesson.
Australia won the match by 7 runs and tied the series 1-1, with one game left to play. It was a good performance from them, but honestly it has to be said that when the required run rate was 4.5 an over, and with 5 wickets in hand, how South Africa got themselves in a position of finding themselves needing 40 off 31 with only 2 wickets in hand is ridiculous and amateurish.
In South Africa’s innings, they had 10 overs worth of dot balls, that is 60 balls not scored off, you can’t expect to win matches when you allow the opposition to get on top of you like that. Where was the rotation of the strike?
South Africa batted poorly and disappointed enormously. We cannot keep saying the same things after every game, the shot selections need improving, the application at the crease, the match awareness, all these things have been said before, but it was just the same issues, different day. When will things change?
The final game of the series is on Sunday 11th November, at 04:50 SA time.