Ireland’s bowling all-rounder Simi Singh made history against South Africa in the third ODI as he became the first player to score a century after batting at eight or low in the line-up. He scored a counter-attacking unbeaten 91-ball hundred to give his side a glimmer of hope in a steep chase, but he ran out of partners in the end.
Earlier in the day, South African skipper Temba Bavuma won the toss and elected to bat first on a decent batting track. The Proteas openers, Janneman Malan(177) and Quinton de Kock(120) put on a mammoth 225-run opening partnership to give their side a great start.
Ireland’s bowlers were left clueless for more than half of the first innings after the carnage of the duo. After a long time, Simi Singh provided the first breakthrough for Ireland by dismissing De Kock in the 37th over. Rassie van der Dussen(30) then played a supporting role to Janneman Malan. South Africa eventually reached 346/4 due to magnificent knocks from the opening batsmen.
Simi Singh stars in late Ireland fightback
Ireland then began their second innings with a massive 347-run target in front of them. Left-arm Orthodox spinner Keshav Maharaj(2/51) opened the attack for South Africa and dismissed both openers cheaply to reduce Ireland to 19/2 in 5 overs. Last-match centurion and Ireland skipper Andy Balbirnie was also back in the pavilion at this point.
Andile Phehlukwayo(3/56) then scalped the wickets of Ireland’s middle-order batsmen to derail the chase completely and put his side in the driver’s seat. Simi Singh fought a lone battle at the end with a brilliant 100*(91 balls), but his efforts went in vain as Tabraiz Shamsi(3/46) cleaned up the tail with his beautiful variations. Simi Singh’s knock comprised 14 hits to the boundary.
Janneman Malan deservedly won the player of the match award for his career-best ODI knock of 177.