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Klaasen fires South Africa to ODI win as Australia suffer Travis Head injury blow | Cricket

Australia’s preparations for the World Cup have been thrown into disarray after Travis Head fractured a hand in a horror 164-run loss to South Africa at Centurion. Head’s night – and probably his World Cup dream – ended when he retired hurt on 17 after being struck a painful blow on his left hand by Gerald Coetzee in Friday’s fourth one-day international.

The opener tried batting for two more overs before coming off the ground in clear discomfort. The Proteas went on to emphatically level the five-match ODI series 2-2 after Heinrich Klaasen’s 174, off only 83 balls, and David Miller’s unbeaten 82 had blasted the hosts to a mammoth 5-416.

Despite Alex Carey’s brilliant innings of 99, Australia were then never in the hunt, knocked over for 252 in 34.5 overs. The visitors’ faltering chase ended when Carey gloved Kagiso Rabada to a diving Quinton de Kock, capping Australia’s second defeat by more than 100 runs in three days and their second heaviest loss in all ODIs against South Africa.

But the defeat was nothing compared to the concerns over key left-hander Head, with the World Cup three weeks away. David Warner and the captain, Mitch Marsh, had departed cheaply prior to Head’s ninth-over exit.

Marnus Labuschagne and Marcus Stoinis , like Carey, fell to South Africa’s short-ball trap, gloving catches to De Kock. Lungi Ngidi took four wickets for 51 and was the pick of the Proteas’ bowlers. He was aided by Rabada, who took three wickets and also took a spectacular, diving, one-handed catch to dismiss Nathan Ellis.

Travis Head is consoled by South Africa’s Gerald Coetzee as he leaves the field injured. Photograph: Phill Magakoe/AFP/Getty Images

The damage had already been done with Klaasen and Miller destroying the Australian attack, belting 19 fours and 18 sixes between them and sharing in a blistering 222-run fifth-wicket stand from just 94 deliveries.

After openers De Kock and Reeza Hendricks made a circumspect start, Rassie van der Dussen began raising the tempo with a knock of 62 before Klaasen and Miller provided the real fireworks.

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Klaasen’s century, which came off 57 balls, was the fourth fastest for South Africa, after AB de Villiers (twice) and Mark Boucher.

Leg-spinner Adam Zampa was plundered for 113 runs without taking a wicket from his 10 overs, equalling the longstanding unwanted record previously held outright by former Australia pace bowler Mick Lewis (against the Proteas in 2006) for the most runs conceded by a bowler in an ODI. The fifth and deciding game is at Johannesburg this Sunday.

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