South Africa posted only one run more than the 188 they had managed in their triangular series opener against hosts West Indies but it was enough to give them a first win in three meetings against Australia in the Caribbean at Providence Stadium today.
The 47-run victory meant that the Guyana leg of the tournament ended with all three teams securing points.
Farhaan Behardien’s fifth One-Day-International half-century helped South Africa recover from 112 for 6 but it was the bowlers who took them to the win. Fielding an attack that included three specialist spinners for the first time in five years –– since their World Cup clash against Bangladesh in 2011 –– South Africa allowed only Aaron Finch to score more than 30.
Particularly impressive was chinaman bowler Tabraiz Shamsi, who made his debut and threatened a wicket with every ball. Shamsi finished with only one scalp but could have had at least two more. He had lbw appeals against Finch and Matthew Wade turned down even as replays showed both would have gone on to hit the stumps. In every instance it was umpire Joel Wilson making the error.
By the time Shamsi was brought on in the 12th over, South Africa’s seam attack that had none of Morne Morkel, Kyle Abbott or Chris Morris, had already removed three of Australia’s top four. Wayne Parnell, having last played international cricket in July 2015, celebrated his return by trapping David Warner lbw in his first over. He then dismissed Steven Smith in the eighth over. In between, Kagiso Rabada had beaten Usman Khawaja for pace and bowled him.
The success of the seamers might have come as a surprise on a surface that played slow and kept low. Australia laid down the marker by bowling a fuller length and sticking to a wicket-to-wicket line. Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Coulter-Nile did most of the damage in the first half of South Africa’s innings. Hazlewood had Quinton de Kock lbw while Coulter-Nile bowled both AB de Villiers, with a delivery that jagged back in, and JP Duminy, with a one that moved away.
With their top five all dismissed in 25 overs, South Africa’s found some middle-order muscle through Behardien. He combined with Aaron Phangiso and Rabada to put on 37 and 39 for the seventh and eighth wicket respectively. Hashim Amla and de Villiers had added 40, the highest partnership of the match. With their contributions, South Africa would have not been able to get past 150.
Finch did not find substantial support in the chase. Glenn Maxwell became Shamsi’s first international victim, given out lbw by Wilson to a legbreak that was missing leg stump by some distance. Then Mitchell Marsh tried to cut Imran Tahir and edged behind. Australia were reduced to 72 for 5 by the 17th over. They added two runs before Finch swept his way to a half-century off 58 balls.
De Villiers brought Rabada back for a second spell in the 20th over and it reaped reward. Rabada had Matthew Wade caught behind driving at a full delivery and then bowled Coulter-Nile with an fast inswinging yorker to leave Australia at 85 for 7.
Adam Zampa lasted one ball to Tahir to make it 90 for 8 and the big wicket came in the 31st over bowled by Phangiso when Finch drove a full delivery and was brilliantly caught by a diving de Villiers at extra-cover for 72 making the score 113 for 9.
There was a last-wicket flurry between Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon that added 29 before Lyon swept once too often, missed the shot and given out lbw to Phangiso for 30. After Finch the last-wicket pair were the only batsmen to reach double figures with Hazlewood finishing unbeaten on 11.
Rabada finished with the best figures of 3 for 13 while there were two wickets each for Parnell, Tahir and Phangiso.
The Tri-Nation series now moves to St Kitts.