South African all-rounder Marco Jansen emerged as the star of the show, both with the bat and the ball, leading his team to a resounding 122-run victory over Australia in the fifth and final One Day International (ODI) at the Wanderers on Sunday.
This victory marked a remarkable turnaround for South Africa, securing a series win after losing the initial two matches.
Jansen played a pivotal role, smashing 47 runs off just 23 balls, helping South Africa recover from a sluggish start to post a challenging total of 315-9, batting first as per Australia's decision. Later, with the ball in hand, he achieved a career-best performance, claiming an impressive ODI haul of 5-39 from eight overs, ultimately restricting the visitors to a meager 193 in 34.1 overs.
South Africa's triumph secured a 3-2 series victory, boosting their morale ahead of the upcoming World Cup in India. The victory came despite the early challenge posed by the new ball, which swung effectively in the thin Highveld air.
Opener Quinton de Kock, who announced his retirement from ODIs after the World Cup, departed inexpensively in his final home innings. Additionally, Heinrich Klaassen, the hero of the previous match with his 174-run performance, was bowled out for just six runs by Adam Zampa, who had been on the receiving end of Klaassen's onslaught two days earlier.
However, South Africa rallied as Aiden Markram and David Miller formed a crucial partnership, amassing 109 runs off 107 balls for the fifth wicket. This partnership was disrupted by Tim David, who, with his first delivery in ODI cricket, dismissed Markram just seven runs shy of a century. David Miller and Marco Jansen continued to attack, with Miller contributing 63 runs to the total. Andile Phehlukwayo provided a late surge, smashing three sixes in the final over to propel South Africa past the 300-run mark.
Australia showed no restraint in their response, maintaining their aggressive approach that had defined the series. However, Jansen proved to be the stumbling block, claiming two crucial wickets in the fourth over, dismissing David Warner and Josh Inglis.
Captain Mitchell Marsh and Marnus Labuschagne built a promising partnership of 90 runs for the third wicket, keeping Australia ahead of the required run rate. Nevertheless, the partnership met its end when Marsh was caught on the third man boundary off Jansen's bowling after scoring 71 runs.
The towering bowler further showcased his prowess by dismissing Labuschagne (44) and Alex Carey (2), while spinner Keshav Maharaj chipped in with three wickets to close out the innings.
Reflecting on his outstanding performance, Jansen remarked, "These type of performances give you confidence," said Jansen afterwards. "I'd like to play like this more often, which is not easy."