Australia top ODI rankings after beating South Africa 4-1 in series
|Fifth one-day international, Sydney:|
|Australia 275-8 (47.1 overs) beat South Africa 280-6 (50 overs) by two wickets (D/L method)|
Australia beat South Africa by two wickets in Sydney to win the one-day international series 4-1 and return to the top of the world ODI rankings.
The hosts were set a Duckworth/Lewis target of 275 from 48 overs after the Proteas made 280-6 from their 50 overs as opener Quinton de Kock hit 107.
The Aussies appeared to be coasting at 264-4 but lost four wickets for three runs to set up a tense finish.
However, James Faulkner hit the winning runs with five balls to spare.
It means that in the International Cricket Council's new rankings table, Australia are only 0.2 ranking points ahead of India, with South Africa third.
With Australia having already taken an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series, South Africa - missing injured skipper AB de Villiers - looked to have set a competitive total as man of the match De Kock anchored the innings, adding 107 for the second wicket with Rilee Rossouw (51).
Farhaan Behardien then did his World Cup chances no harm with a blistering career-best 63 from 41 balls before he fell in the last over.
However, the tourists' bowling lacked bite without rested paceman Dale Steyn, and half-centuries from opener Aaron Finch (76 from 67 balls), Shane Watson (82) and Steve Smith (67) put Australia in the driving seat, despite a brief rain interruption.
But when man of the series Smith fell to spinner Robin Peterson (4-32) with 11 runs still needed from 25 balls, it sparked a mini-collapse as Peterson bowled a double-wicket maiden, leaving eight runs required off the last 13 deliveries.
But Faulkner held his nerve to hit the first ball of the last over, bowled by Peterson, for four to make sure of victory.
Australia now host a four-Test series against India, then a triangular one-day series in January which also features India and England - before the World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, begins on 14 February.
|ICC one-day international rankings|
|Statistics correct as of 23 November|