South Africa were two down after the first two matches in the five match ODI series and needed some heroes who could stand up and be counted to avoid a home series loss. England was playing a very positive brand of cricket and the Protea's seemed to be having too many out of form players to match the English side.
But cometh the hour and cometh the men, let us look at the Fantastico 5 who put their hands up and made telling contributions that had a great impact on the series, turning it on its head, as South Africa went on to win the next three games in a row to complete a remarkable turnaround to win the series 3-2.
Kasigo Rabada did not play the first ODI match when South Africa was run ragged by Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes and England had made a huge 399 runs batting first. He returned from the second match and immediately made an impact. Although he failed to pick up any wicket in the second ODI, he was economical and remained a threat throughout. He took 4, 2 and 3 wickets respectively in the remaining three games to peg the English back with important strikes. The two times that Buttler made a first ball duck, it was Rabada who managed to snaffle him. He played a key role in the reversal of South Africa’s fortune.
Like Rabada, Abbott too did not play the first match but when he returned from the second ODI, he immediately gave a more threatening and penetrative look to the African bowling. He always pulled the burgeoning English run rate back with his accurate bowling while also taking important wickets. In all, he took 8 wickets in the four matches and along with Rabada, who took 9, played a decisive part in the Protea win.
Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla
Quinton de Kock nearly helped the South African team chase down Mt. 399 with his audacious hitting when he made 138* off just 96 balls in the first ODI as wickets fell around him and before the rain ultimately had the final say in deciding the fate of the match. De Kock was at it again in the third ODI when, chasing 319 to win the match, he made a Fantastico 135 off just 117 balls to kill the chase along with Hashim Amla, who also made a ton (127 off 130 balls). De Kock and Amla played a big role in the turnaround with their 239 run partnership in the third ODI and they finished with 326 and 196 runs respectively in the series.
AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers was not in the best of the form, at least not by his lofty standards, as he struggled for the usual fluency and flair that he is known for. Still, he made 218 runs in the series at an average of almost 73 and it was in the last ODI, with the series locked 2-2 and England very much in the ascendency having reduced South Africa to 22-3 after setting them 237 to win, that he played an innings of high class under immense pressure. He restrained his natural hitting instincts and made an absolute gem of a hundred to guide the chase home and bring home the trophy!!