A pair of Western Australians scorched South Africa A overnight, with Shaun Marsh and Nathan Coulter-Nile guiding Australia A to a narrow three wicket win in Pretoria.
After another middle order collapse, which saw the visitors lose 6-39, the white ball warriors combined for a match-winning 133 run partnership to see the Australians home with an over to spare.
QUICK SINGLE: Marsh stars in thrilling run chase
Coulter-Nile, who was run out on 62 (52), continued to press his claims for an ODI berth, with the ODI series against England kicking off on September 6.
The hulking all-rounder has been in career best from since the KFC T20 Big Bash League, which saw him star with ten wickets and a rapid-fire 23* off just six deliveries against eventual champions, the Brisbane Heat.
The 25 year old must be very close to a call-up to the ODI side, after making his T20 debut earlier this year against the West Indies.
Coulter-Nile missed out with the ball, as the hosts made a more than competitive 8/295 from their 50 overs.
The top six all made starts, with Reeza Hendricks (75) and Justin Ontong (71) the only batsmen to go on with it.
Moises Henriques dominated with the ball, finishing with 4/61 from his nine overs, while Glenn Maxwell kept it tight in the middle overs.
South African skipper, Justin Ontong, lamented his side’s poor start with the ball.
“I thought we were in it all the way, just a couple of mistakes there where we went a little bit soft I feel.”
“I thought that first power play set us back hugely.”
And that it did, with Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh adding 111 inside 20 overs. The loss of Finch for 62 triggered a stunning collapse, but as long as Marsh was there, Australia A were always going to be half a chance.
The 30 year old has been plagued by injuries and off-field indiscretions in recent times, but proved he was anything but a spent force with an almost run a ball 136*.
After a lean trot in the “Test” series, Marsh was keen to rediscover the form that saw him finish the BBL with a tournament-topping 412 runs.
Marsh’s innings had a little bit of everything, with his 17 boundaries off-set by a crucial rebuilding period in the middle overs against the slower bowlers.
“I’ve trained really hard over the last few days and it was nice to go out there and get a few runs.”
Marsh will have the chance to exact some revenge on India, after they brought his Test career to a halt nearly two years ago.
“They’ve got a great team over here and we’re going to have to play even better to beat them. We’re really looking forward to that challenge.”
Australia A will look to consolidate their position at the top of the standings when they meet India A on Thursday in Pretoria.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 07 August, 2013 10:44AM AEDT