Cape Town – Now
for the good news, following South Africa’s eight-wicket drubbing from Pakistan
on Sunday: the Proteas tend to play some of their most compelling cricket when
bilateral one-day international series come down to an effective “final”.
have to produce a turnaround of some magnitude in the decisive fifth ODI at
Newlands on Wednesday, following their Pink Day humiliation in the Bullring
which levelled matters at 2-2 against Pakistan.
history does, at least, point to the likelihood that they will be properly
switched-on for the key clash, which should at least partly replicate World
Cup-type knockout tension at a convenient juncture for both sides.
the nucleus of the present SA squad have an outstanding reputation for lifting
their games in a series-determining ODI: the Proteas have won on all of the
last five occasions when series fortunes have come down to the last match.
You have to
go back to mid-2015 for the last time they blew a decider: it came in the
three-match series in Bangladesh, where they had taken a 1-0 lead but then lost
game two and were also blown away by nine wickets in the Chittagong “trophy”
though, the Proteas have produced a sequence of often inspiring performances in
ODI series deciders.
recent was their 40-run victory a few weeks back in the third and last game
against Australia in Hobart on November 11, from 1-1: David Miller led the way
on that occasional with his savagely-struck, career-best 139 off 108 balls in a
total of 320 for five having batted first.
du Plessis had also struck a century after the pair had come together at a
shaky 55 for three and utterly transformed the innings (and, ultimately,
the Proteas tackled New Zealand in Auckland with the series in the balance at
2-2 … and again prevailed by a margin containing some breathing space (five
wickets, with almost 18 overs to spare).
pluckier, however, was the way they stole the five-match home ODI series from
under the noses of the England tourists in 2015/16.
had romped into a 2-0 lead (Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth) before the Proteas
struck back at both Centurion and Johannesburg to tee up a tantalising
“showpiece” at the very venue for this Wednesday’s equivalent, Newlands: and
South Africa won by five wickets.
Not too long
before that, the Proteas had shown similar, encouraging qualities under
pressure when they played India in the fifth and last ODI in Mumbai, also from
a 2-2 situation.
centuries from all of Du Plessis, AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock, they plundered
a record 438 for four and went on to earn a crushing 214-run triumph for their
maiden series conquest in India.
spring of 2015, the Proteas had also beaten the New Zealand visitors 2-1 in a
short series from 1-1 – just further evidence of South Africa rising to the
occasion in bilateral deciders.
So they will
be hunting a six-in-a-row feat on that front against the Pakistanis on
tempering statistic is that Newlands has been less kind to South Africa for
general ODI wins since a purple patch between 2004 and 2009, when the Proteas
won 10 on the trot at the venue.
recently, SA have won only three of their last six ODIs at the famous ground.
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