South Africa coast to eight-wicket win to claim the series
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Player:RT Ponting, J Botha, AB de Villiers, HM Amla
Event:South Africa in Australia 2008/09

DateLine: 26th January 2009


South Africa registered another series win on the Australian soil and this time it was in the form of the one-day series. After winning the Test series, they had lost the T20 series 2-0 and everybody thought that they had handed the momentum back to the Australian camp. But eventually they proved everybody wrong as they won the one-day campaign of the tour with relative ease and also with a game to spare. South Africa, going into the fourth match were leading the series 2-1 and Australia needed to win the match to keep the series alive.


Australia wasted another strong platform as they struggled to an unconvincing 222. South Africa, who lead the five-match contest 2-1, refused to be deflated by Ricky Ponting's aggressive half-century and picked up the captain in a dramatic four-wicket mid-innings collapse as Australia slipped from 2 for 110 in the 20th over. Each time the hosts have threatened to sprint away against South Africa they have been roped back and it happened again. Australia is in a must-win situation as a victory would keep the series alive. Shaun Marsh started off with three boundaries off Steyn and his attempt for another resulted in a slice to third man. David Warner (1) was cramped in an over by Ntini and tried to break free, chipping to Morne Morkel at mid-on. Australia found themselves at 17 for 2 in the third over before Ponting and Michael Hussey steered them away from the initial danger in a 93-run partnership. Botha picked up two wickets in a ten-over spell worth 28 as the batsmen were unable to break the shackles.


Ponting fell when he found Neil McKenzie at short cover and what followed after his dismissal hurt Australia as again they experienced a mid-innings stumble and this prevented them from posting a 300-plus total. Haddin foolishly slogged Botha and was caught at deep midwicket and David Hussey followed on when he square drove Albie Morkel to Gibbs and the situation was suddenly a dire 151 for 6. Cameron White added 37 with James Hopes before White was out cutting a very wide delivery from Steyn. Mitchell Johnson went shortly after and Australia plunged into more trouble. When the batting powerplay was called for, Hopes found the boundary a few times before being dismissed.


Australia hoped for a quick fightback after their disappointing batting, but Amla and Herschelle Gibbs started in top gear. Gibbs targeted Ben Hilfenhaus, driving two boundaries from his first over, and was in a hurry to finish the match. His brutal 38 from 29 balls ended when Hilfenhaus failed to give in and watched a catch balloon to mid-off. Kallis also started in an aggressive mood and was dropped from his second ball, but Shaun Marsh made up for the difficult miss when he collected the batsman's flick to midwicket in James Hopes' first over. Chasing Australia's below-par 222, the visitors raced to 100 in 15 overs as they dominated the home attack before reducing their pace in a bid to make sure of the win.


de Villiers joined Amla at 79 for 2 and the Australian bowlers sensed that the door was slightly open for them to barge in, but Amla and de Villiers just slammed the door onto their face with an unbroken 144 run partnership in just under 26 overs. Amla was in good nick as he pushed and nudged the ball around the park while de Villiers found the boundaries almost at will. When the bad ball came, Amla was quick to dispatch it to the boundary and as the target was whittled down the Australian shoulders began to droop. The important aspect of this partnership was that the pair never gave any half chance to the Australian fielders as they went about their task clinically. The pair was never under pressure at any moment as they kept the scorecard moving without much problem. Ponting tried almost all that he could, changed the bowlers regularly, changed their ends and also tried to block the flow of runs with his field placings, but with a meager total on the board, his hands were literally tied. After chasing down 270 in Sydney last week, 223 didn't prove that hard for the South Africans, particularly with a number of the batsmen in form. Amla and de Villiers were unclustered and both played steady innings, later accelerating when victory was in sight. The Australian bowlers rarely troubled them as they coasted to a eight wicket win and with it claimed the series with a game to spare. The result came with 71 balls remaining and South Africa hadn't even called for the batting Powerplay.