Cape Town – Apart from its critical importance to the
series, South Africa will be trying to defend a dreamy record against Australia
when these foes clash in the fourth one-day international at Melbourne Cricket
Ground on Friday (05:20 start).
Another defeat for the Proteas, following their 73-run loss
in Canberra on Wednesday, renders Sunday’s finale in Sydney a dead-rubber
affair, as the Aussies would move into a 3-1 lead.
That sobering knowledge will be the key driver for AB de
Villiers’s side at the vast MCG, although the captain might also do well to
remind his charges that if they are a little up against it now, they might as
well be so at this very ground.
The reason is that they boast a remarkable 100 percent
record against the Aussies there ... six wins out of six in a period stretching
from December 1993 to January 2009.
It may have been some time since the last bilateral ODI encounter
at the MCG, which will explain why only Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn and Morne
Morkel will be likely survivors in Friday’s SA ranks from the 2009 victory, but
it is a fact nevertheless that an equalising Proteas victory will
simultaneously make it a “magnificent seven” for the country there.
The tourists were led on that occasion by now South
Australia-based Johan Botha, as regular captain Graeme Smith had returned home
injured after the famous 2-1 Test series triumph of 2008/09, and winning by
three wickets put them on route toward an eventual 4-1 outcome in the ODIs - putting the cherry on top of a memorable safari as a whole Down Under than
Here is a short recap
(from most recent) of all six prior SA wins in as many ODIs against Australia
at the MCG:
*January 16, 2009: SA won by three wickets: Australia 271/8
(SE Marsh 79, DJ Hussey 52); SA 272/7 (JP Duminy 71, ND McKenzie 63)
*January 13, 2002: SA won by four wickets: Australia 198 (SR
Waugh 62; SM Pollock 3/25, JH Kallis 3/30); SA 199/6 (JN Rhodes 43*)
*January 23, 1998: SA won by six runs: SA 241/9 (G Kirsten
70; SK Warne 3/52); Australia 235 (MG Bevan 57; AA Donald 3/36)
*December 9, 1997: SA won by 45 runs: SA 170/8 (JN Rhodes
42); Australia 125 (ME Waugh 45; L Klusener 5/24)
*January 21, 1994: SA won by 28 runs: SA 230/5 (G Kirsten
112*); Australia 202 (DC Boon 45; RP Snell 5/40)
*December 9, 1993: SA won by seven wickets: Australia 189
(MJ Slater 73; PS de Villiers 3/30); SA 190/3 (WJ Cronje 91*, KC Wessels 70).
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