Rain put the brakes on but did not drown out Bangladesh’s chances of beating South Africa for the first time in a bilateral ODI series and recording a fourth successive series win at home. The hosts’ hopes of doing that soared after their bowlers restricted South Africa for a second time in the series.
South Africa’s top order again struggled with the slow surface and strangling approach from Bangladesh’s bowlers, who collectively put in another disciplined performance. Shakib Al Hasan and Masrafe Mortaza both reached 200 wickets in ODIs, and the combination of shrewd seam bowling and spin kept South Africa mostly quiet. JP Duminy and David Miller put on 63 runs for the fifth wicket and Duminy went on to a half-century, but there was little resistance from anyone else.
Quinton de Kock’s discomfort in these conditions continued when he was dismissed for single figures for a second successive match. He survived an lbw appeal from Mortaza but only lasted three more deliveries before Mustafizur Rahman found his legstump.
Shakib was introduced in the sixth over and immediately caused problems for South Africa’s most experienced pair. Neither Hashim Amla nor Faf du Plessis adjusted against him, and du Plessis’ attempt to counterattack led to his undoing as he tried an extravagant sweep only to get a top edge. Two overs later, Shakib should have dismissed Amla as well. Amla played a similar shot to du Plessis’, but Sabbir Rahman, who had to backpedal from mid-off to judge the catch, could not hold on. Shakib did however have the last laugh when, in his next over, Amla was caught behind on the drive to become Shakib’s 200th ODI wicket.
Mahmudullah had Rilee Rossouw snaffled 10 balls later and South Africa were in trouble on 50 for 4 before Duminy and Miller dug in. Miller was more confident against spin and in his use of the sweep shot than he has been all series and Duminy, realising someone had to play the patience game, was happy to wait. That was just as well, because the wait ended up lasting two hours and 55 minutes for a rain delay which interrupted South Africa’s innings after 23 overs with the score on 83 for 4.
When play resumed, conditions seemed to have become a touch skiddier and run-scoring seemed a little easier. Miller continued in his role as aggressor but eventually hit Mortaza in the air and Sabbir made up for his earlier fluff with a diving catch at backward point to give the captain his 200th scalp.
Farhaan Behardien showed signs of the fight he displayed in the second match, but holed out off Shakib as South Africa looked to up the ante. Sabbir, who was stationed on the long-on boundary, snatched the ball overhead, saw that momentum would take him over the rope, threw it back in, and then re-collected it once he was within the boundary.
That left Duminy with the tail, who were unable to cope with the cutter from Mustafizur and yorker from Rubel Hossain. It gave Bangladesh a fighting chance for a famous win.