Cape Town - Kagiso Rabada led a strong performance with the ball for the Proteas as they opened their Tri-Nation One-Day International (ODI) series account with an emphatic 47-run bonus-point win over Australia at the Guyana National Stadium in Providence on Tuesday.
The right-arm paceman bowled with swing and precision to pick up an outstanding 3/13 in 7 overs and help South Africa defend what appeared to be another below-par total of 189/9 in their 50 overs.
Rabada and the rest of the bowlers delivered an excellent show with the ball to bundle out the Australians for 142 in 34.2 overs.
Apart from the three wickets from the young Proteas star, there were also telling contributions from the other bowlers.
Left-arm seamer Wayne Parnell, back in the squad on the back of an impressive domestic season, returned figures of 2/23, while spinners Aaron Phangiso, fresh off his career-best in the opening loss to West Indies, took 2/26 and Imran Tahir picked up 2/39.
Tabraiz Shamsi, drafted into the team for his debut and part of the three-man spin attack, also returned tidy figures of 1/36 in eight overs.
Opener Aaron Finch top-scored for Australia with 72 (103 balls, 6 fours, 3 sixes), although none of the other top nine batsmen managed double figures until the last wicket pair of Nathan Lyon (30) and Josh Hazlewood (11).
But if South Africa’s dominance with the ball was palpable, the batting had almost been the opposite, apart for Man of the Match Farhaan Behardien.
The right-hander rescued them from being a poor 112/6 with his measured 62 (84 balls, 4 fours, 1 six), his fifth ODI half century.
There were once again starts for Hashim Amla (35), AB de Villiers (22) and Quinton de Kock (18), but none kicked on as the top-order succumbed to the pace of Hazlewood (2/20) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (2/38).
Behardien’s rescue act saw him share invaluable stands of 37 with Phangiso, who made nine, and 39 with Rabada (14). That gave the Proteas a glimmer of hope, which they latched onto thanks to the bowlers.
There was even time for a half-hour rain delay when Australia were nine down, but there was no denying South Africa their first win of the competition, which also put them top of the table.