South Africa captain Temba Bavuma took his team a step closer to automatic qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup when they beat the Netherlands by eight wickets in the second One-Day International (ODI) at Willowmoore Park on Friday.
Bavuma made 90 not out in Benoni as South Africa achieved a victory target of 190 with 20 overs to spare.
Another win in the final match in Johannesburg on Sunday or a no-result will take South Africa into the eighth and final qualification place for the World Cup in India in October and November.
Bavuma said his own form was linked to “a certain level of backing and confidence that is going around in the environment at the moment”.
Bavuma did not refer directly to the appointment of Rob Walter as head coach following the resignation of former Test wicketkeeper Mark Boucher but said, “I think a lot of the guys are feeding from the environment. We are also quite clear about how we want to go about things.”
Fast bowler Sisanda Magala was named player of the match. He took three for 37 as the Netherlands were bowled out for 189. He dismissed both openers after Vikramjit Singh (45) and Max O’Dowd (18) put on 58 off 66 balls, then came back to claim the wicket of top-scorer Teja Nidamanuru, who made 48.
South Africa lost Quinton de Kock for nine to off-spinner Aryan Dutt, who shared the new ball and took one for nine in four overs.
But Dutt injured his right knee in a collision in the outfield with Musa Ahmed and had to leave the field. He came back later but was clearly in discomfort and conceded 21 runs in two more overs.
Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen (31) put on 70 for the second wicket before Bavuma and Aiden Markram (51 not out) went on the attack to add an unbeaten 102 off 69 balls to finish the match on a cold, blustery evening when there was a threat of rain which did not materialise.
The match was the second in a three-match series. The first encounter in November 2021 was rained off and the remaining two games were postponed because of a Covid scare.
With Sri Lanka having been eliminated when they lost to New Zealand earlier on Friday, a win for South Africa on Sunday will take them to the World Cup unless Ireland win all three matches in a series against Bangladesh in England in May.