SA 'A' fall to Aussies again
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town - South Africa 'A' lost to their Australian counterparts for the second time in succession during the triangular 50-overs tournament also featuring a Zimbabwe XI in Harare on Tuesday.
Some consolation for Jacques Rudolph's side, after being well beaten by 60 runs in the first meeting, was that this match went to the wire before the Aussies squeezed in by one wicket with one ball remaining.
Set a challenging target of 299 after the South Africans posted 298 for seven - the in-form opener Rudolph added to his 98 against the Zimbabwe XI with top score of 90 again this time - it looked as if revenge was on the cards as the Australians lost their ninth wicket midway through the 47th over with the total on 275.
Yet the last pair of Trent Copeland and Nathan Lyon commendably held their nerve to take them past the post, and an effortless berth in Friday's final after four wins from four in their league programme.
Cape Cobras all-rounder Vernon Philander's figures of 10-0-48-3, including the last two wickets to fall, ought to have been enough to see SA ‘A’ home, but instead they must secure their berth in the showpiece game by beating the Zimbabweans again at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday.
Earlier key contributors to the Australian cause had been Mitchell Marsh with 72 and Callum Ferguson with 66.
Apart from Rudolph's effort, the South African innings had been bolstered by Jonathan Vandiar's 60 and 52 from Rilee Rossouw.