BLOEMFONTEIN -Supersub Marnus Labuschagne’s fighting unbeaten 80 trumped Temba Bavuma’s superb hundred to help Australia beat South Africa by three wickets in the first ODI and take 1-0 lead in the five-match ODI series.
When a cricket match is said to be a nail-biter, the first ODI between Australia and South Africa stayed true to this definition. The game saw Australia snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, led by Marnus Labuschagne’s commendable unbeaten 80 which trumped the superb hundred by South African captain Temba Bavuma.
The tricky wicket presented a challenge for both teams. South Africa, who won the toss and chose to bat first, saw its batting order crumble against Australia’s bowling attack, managing a modest total of 222. Bavuma, however, stood strong, scoring a magnificent 114*, single-handedly pulling the team from a catastrophic situation.
Chasing this seemingly achievable target, the Australian side found themselves in troubled waters, losing their top order swiftly to South African pacers - Rabada, Jansen, and Ngidi. At a point, Australia was 7 down, with a daunting task of scoring about 100 more runs.
Labuschagne, who was the concussion substitute, rose to this challenge in an unexpected turn of events. In a beautiful partnership with Ashton Agar, Labuschagne played brilliantly, leading Australia towards an improbable victory. Their unbeaten 112-run partnership, against all odds, got Australia across the finish line, marking a thrilling victory by three wickets.
Although the match started slow, with de Kock and Bavuma struggling on the spongy surface, it gradually picked up pace. The dynamics changed when de Kock was caught in deep square leg and van der Dussen was run out. Despite quick wickets falling on the other end, Bavuma remained steady, crafting a brilliant hundred to support his team. In the crunch moments, both Labuschagne and Bavuma showcased their skills and determination. Labuschagne’s fighting innings of 80*, and the unbeaten stand with Agar, changed the echoes in the ground, swinging the momentum in Australia’s favor