Johannesburg - There was no shortage of either smiles or entertainment as the Springboks stunned the Proteas by five wickets to lift the Nelson Mandela Legacy Cup on a fun-filled Friday night at Wanderers.
On a day that featured a kicking competition, a six-hitting competition, an autograph signing session with players from both teams, a performance by Prime Circle, and a great deal of fundraising for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Victor Matfield’s exciting innings ultimately gave the Springboks bragging rights for the next year.
Matfield displayed an impressive array of shots, some of which would have made any Protea proud, as he hit 62 from just 36 balls to put the Springboks on track in their chase of 182 for victory.
The lock forward made excellent use of the batting power play along with Tiaan Liebenberg as the opening pair put on 48 in the first five overs, and then added 66 for the third wicket with captain, Butch James.
Kagiso Rabada brought the Proteas back into the game when he dismissed both Matfield and James with consecutive deliveries, but Willem Alberts (24 not out in seven balls) hammered three huge sixes to take the Springboks home with seven balls to spare.
The Proteas total of 181 was based on a half-century from Hashim Amla and some fireworks lower down the order, but brilliant catching by the Springboks ensured that the innings never got out of control.
Amla hit 51 from just 31 balls before opting to retire, but when other batsmen hit balls in the air they often found a safe pair of hands, with Springbok fly-half, Handre Pollard, taking a couple of superb catches.
Both were off the bowling of Willie le Roux, who was easily the pick of the 12 bowlers used as he took 3 for 4 in two overs.
That left the Protea lower order with work to do, and Aaron Phangiso obliged by hitting 16 off five deliveries, while Rabada hammered 22 from 14.
Proteas team: Hashim Amla (captain), Quinton de Kock, Temba Bavuma, Farhaan Behardien, David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Wayne Parnell, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Robin Peterson, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Mthokozisi Shezi, Rilee Rossouw.
Springboks squad: Willem Alberts (captain), Tiaan Liebenberg, Victor Matfield, Handre Pollard, Butch James, Jan Serfontein, Damian de Allende, Willie le Roux, Francois Hougaard, Duane Vermeulen, Bismarck du Plessis, Cornal Hendricks, Louis Koen.