Powered by a thunderous century from
Heinrich Klaasen, South Africa produced a monstrous batting display in the
fourth ODI in Centurion to beat Australia by 164 runs. The wicket-keeper
smashed 174 off 83 deliveries to propel the Proteas to 416/5 – South Africa’s
second-highest score against Australia in ODIs.
Mitchell Marsh’s side managed just 252 in
response to slump to a crushing defeat, allowing the Proteas to level the
series at 2-2 after losing the opening two games and set up a decider in the
fifth and final encounter.
Having been put into bat, the hosts got off
to a sedate start. Openers Quinton de Kock and Reeza Hendricks managed just 44
runs in the powerplay, and Australia kept the scoring rate down throughout the
first half of the innings, restricting the hosts to 120/3 at the halfway mark.
However, the scene changed upon Heinrich
Klaasen’s introduction in the 26th over, with the wicket-keeper producing a
special innings to stun the Australians.
Klaasen initially played second fiddle to
Rassie van der Dussen, who added a brisk half-century, but took over after his
dismissal, smashing 13 fours and 13 sixes in his extraordinary batting effort.
After taking 38 balls to get to his half-century, Klaasen cut loose in the
pristine batting conditions at SuperSport Park, adding his next fifty off just
19 deliveries to score his third ODI ton.
No Australian bowler was left alone as the
big hits kept coming from the blades of Klaasen and Miller, who added an equally
devastating 82 off 45 balls. The pair shared a 222-run stand for the fifth
wicket and added an ODI record 173 runs in the final ten overs of the innings
to set Australia a mammoth target of 417.
Needing to go big from the outset,
Australia lost David Warner and Mitchell Marsh within the first five overs of
their chase. Compounding their woes, Travis Head was forced off the field after
being struck on the arm by Gerald Coetzee. The visitors continued to lose
wickets as the asking rate skyrocketed, with Marnus Labuschagne and Marcus
Stoinis nicking off.
Alex Carey played a lone fighting hand for
Australia but kept losing partners at the other end. Aiden Markram took a
stunning catch to send back Tim David before Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada ran
through the tail. Carey was the last man dismissed, cruelly edging behind on 99
as Australia folded for 252 to give the Proteas a morale-boosting 164-run win.