South Africa chases down 327 to beat Australia

South African player Faf du Plessis, right, celebrates with AB de Villiers after scoring 100 runs during the cricket One Day International match against Australia in Harare Zimbabwe Wednesday.

South African player Faf du Plessis, right, celebrates with AB de Villiers after scoring 100 runs during the cricket One Day International match against Australia in Harare Zimbabwe Wednesday.

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Former schoolmates AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis both hit centuries in a game-changing 206-run partnership as South Africa chased down 327 to beat top-ranked Australia by seven wickets on Wednesday.

The South Africans struck the first blow against the Australians in the triangular one-day series in Zimbabwe as they powered to 328-3 and victory — and with 20 balls to spare — at Harare Sports Club.

Captain De Villiers was 136 not out at the end and still striking boundaries despite struggling with cramp in his left leg from around halfway through his innings. His good friend Du Plessis was out for 106 but the pair came together with South Africa 51-2 and by the time they were parted 29 overs later, the Proteas were well on course for victory at 257-3 and both had hundreds.

Their stand was the highest for the third wicket in one-dayers at Harare Sports Club and the highest third-wicket partnership ever for South Africa against its great cricket rival.

Du Plessis’ century was his first in ODIs and was laced with 11 fours and a six. De Villiers gritted through the pain in his left hamstring, which left him hobbling badly between the wickets and throwing himself into headlong dives on numerous occasions when he feared he might be run out because of his hampered running.

 
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