Faf du Plessis had one memorable Test debut against Australia in Australia. Averaging 146.5 in the series and frustrating their bowlers by occupying the crease for long periods, du Plessis' career took a sharp turn after that series. He has since had a wonderful record against the Aussies across formats.
It is particularly reflective in his average in ODIs against the Aussies - a dominating average of 54 after 22 matches against them. Du Plessis smashed his fifth ODI hundred against Australia at Manchester on Saturday to guide South Africa to a daunting total of 325.
Having had a below-par tournament with the bat, the Proteas wanted to end their World Cup campaign on a high and their skipper set the platform for it with an outstanding hundred after coming in to bat at no 3. Du Plessis only has 1000-plus runs in the format against two teams - Sri Lanka and Australia. The tally of five hundreds against Australia is his best against any team in ODIs.
Du Plessis, the ODI batsman, took some time to wake up. Till 2014, he had no hundreds in the format. He then roared to life in the 2014 tri-series in Zimbabwe involving the hosts and Australia. He smashed three hundreds in the series - two against Australia - and made a 96 in the finals against the Aussies to win the series for the Proteas.
Since then, he has been a force to reckon with in ODIs. He has averaged over 48 in every year in ODIs since the beginning of 2014. In the last three years, it is consistently above the 60-run mark. 2019, though, has been his best year in ODIs so far in terms of averages. After six and a half months into the year, du Plessis has 814 runs at an average of 67.83. Eight of his 19 scores in ODIs this year have been over 50. Two of them have been converted to hundreds.
The Proteas had a disastrous World Cup campaign but du Plessis was among the few bright spots for them. The skipper topped the run charts for them with 387 runs and also has the best average - 64.5 - amongst their batting contingent. In half the number of matches in the tournament du Plessis went past the half-century mark. With his hundred against Australia, du Plessis registered the only century by a South African in this World Cup.