Janneman Malan and Quinton de Kock both hit centuries as South Africa sealed a 70-run win over Ireland on Friday, tying the ODI series at 1-1.
Ireland enjoyed a famous first ever win over South Africa in international cricket last time out, with captain Andy Balbirnie playing a starring role with a knock of 102.
But they were unable to follow that up by clinching what would have been a maiden series triumph over a top-eight ranked team, as the Proteas this time managed to meet expectations by posting 346-4.
The opening partnership of Malan (177 not out) and De Kock (120) set the tone, with each recording impressive knocks. The latter was returning to action after being rested for the previous outings on the tour.
Ireland eventually ended the stand at 225 in the 37th over when De Kock was dismissed by Simi Singh (1-52), but South Africa piled on 100 runs in the final 10 overs to set a significant total.
Ireland were given a mountain to climb in reply after losing Paul Stirling and Balbirnie inside the first four overs. Andy McBrine also fell in the powerplay, while Harry Tector, George Dockrell and Lorcan Tucker departed in quick succession to suddenly leave the score at 92-6.
South Africa-born all-rounder Curtis Campher made 54 but it was Singh who was the star performer with the bat for the hosts, making a maiden ODI century.
He would end up unbeaten on exactly 100 from 91 deliveries as Ireland were bowled out for 276 at the start of the 48th over. Andile Phehlukwayo and Tabraiz Shamsi both claimed three wickets apiece for the Proteas.
RESULT | #PROTEAS WIN BY 70 RUNS— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) July 16, 2021
Tabraiz Shamsi and Andile Phehlukwayo grabbed 3-wickets each as the bowlers backed up a superb batting display to ensure the #Proteas claimed victory in the 3rd ODI against @cricketireland to share the series 1-1 #IREvSA #ThatsOurGame pic.twitter.com/YT3fpM2ag8
Malan's the man
The pressure was on South Africa here after a disappointing showing last time, yet Malan – who was by no means in poor form after hitting 84 last time out – looked in control almost throughout. He had few near-misses en route to the best score of his seven-match international career, this his second ton in the 50-over format.
Singh on song
While Ireland's bowlers gave the batsmen too much work to do, Singh provided some positivity towards the end of the innings – without his efforts, it could have been a particularly ugly defeat. His knock included 14 boundaries, and he managed to reach three figures before running out of partners.