Labuschagne helps Australia win first ODI against South Africa by three wickets

Thanks to a solid unbeaten knock of 80 runs by Marnus Labuschagne, Australia secured a surprising three-wicket win to stun South Africa at the Mangaung Oval in the first ODI of the five-match series. The result also means that the Aussies have ended a five-match ODI losing streak to the Proteas. Marnus Labuschagne, batting at number eight, transformed the entire course of the game with his newfound aggression in limited-overs cricket.

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In a battle of depth, South Africa put Australia’s seemingly endless reservoir to the test in an intensely gripping ODI. However, it was the Proteas who ultimately ran out of options as Labuschagne (80*) and Ashton Agar (48*) scripted one of ODI cricket’s most unprecedented victories.

Chasing a modest 223 to win, South Africa began posing questions early in the innings as Marco Jansen dismissed David Warner for a duck. The left-handed batsman’s cut shot found the bottom edge and crashed into the stumps, sending him back to the dugout. Travis Head (33) and Mitchell Marsh (17) battled hard to maintain momentum in Australia’s favour, but Rabada and Ngidi teamed up to dismiss them.

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Cameroon Green was struck on the helmet by a scorching Rabada delivery, forcing him to retire hurt. Josh Inglis replaced him on the field alongside Alex Carey. However, the left-right batting combination failed to work against Rabada and the seamer Gerald Coetzee, leading to the dismissal of both batters. Rabada sent Inglis packing for 1, while Coetzee dislodged Carey’s stumps, ending his night with a score of 3.

Labuschagne and Ashton Agar then took control of the game. The two carefully crafted an unbeaten 112-run partnership to guide Australia to victory, walking back undefeated with scores of 80* and 48*, respectively.

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Earlier in the innings, Temba Bavuma played an unbeaten innings of 114 to guide South Africa to 222. Marco Jansen’s brief cameo also played a significant role in the Proteas surpassing the 200-run mark. In the first innings, Josh Hazlewood and Marcus Stoinis spearheaded Australia’s bowling effort, combining to claim five wickets.

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