Malan, De Kock hit sparkling tons as Proteas bounce back in Dublin
Openers Janneman Malan and Quinton de Kock sparkled with well-taken centuries as SA bounced back in style to beat Ireland by 70 runs in the third and final ODI at Malahide in Dublin on Friday to level this three-match series 1-1.
The Proteas went into this match under pressure to win at all costs after they lost to Ireland during the week and they responded with a strong team performance that produced two centurions.
This match, which will see Proteas earn valuable World Cup Super League points that go towards qualifying for the 2023 World Cup, also saw debutant and fast bowler Lizaard Williams take his first ODI wicket with his first ball.
SA captain Temba Bavuma won the toss and chose to bat for De Kock, who was making a return to the side after being rested in midweek, to put together a match-winning opening stand of 225 off 217 with Malan.
SA put up a highly competitive total of 346/4 in their allotted 50 overs and it proved a bridge too far for Ireland, who were bowled out for 276 with more than two overs to spare.
Though it was a solid team performance, the star of the show was on-form Malan, who batted throughout the innings and ended his highly impressive shift with a career-best unbeaten knock of 177 off 169.
He had another strong partnership of 81 off 58 with Rassie van der Dussen as the top order laid a solid foundation for this much needed-victory for coach Mark Boucher and Bavuma.
Malan, who also impressed in the field with three catches, became the scorer of the fourth-highest score by a SA batsman in ODIs after Gary Kirsten (188*), Faf du Plessis (185) and Quinton de Kock (178).
On the other hand, Williams achieved the same feat as former fast bowler Monde Zondeki who bowled out Sri Lankan legend Marvan Atapattu with his first delivery in Bloemfontein in 2002.
The other main contributor with the bat was De Kock who ended his innings on 120 off 91 and with his 16th ODI century, while Van Der Dussen added 30 off 28 and Phehlukwayo, Heinrich Klaasen and Bavuma ended in single figures.
With ball in hand for Ireland, Josh Little accounted for the scalps of Klaasen and Phehlukwayo while Craig Young and Simi Singh returned with the wickets of Van der Dussen and De Kock.
In their bowling innings, Phehlukwayo took the wickets of George Dockrell, Curtis Campher and Lorcan Tucker, and Shamsi removed Harry Tector and Josh Little.
Keshav Maharaj claimed the scalps of Paul Stirling and Andy Balbirnie while Williams and Anrich Nortjé ended with one wicket each.
With the bat for Ireland, lower order batsman Simi Singh (100*) was the most impressive with his maiden ODI century and Curtis Campher was the closest to him with 54 and Tector with 29.
The two teams will now turn their attention to the T20 series that starts on Monday.