Faf du Plessis came tantalizingly close to becoming the sixth batsman and fourth South African to slam three successive ODI hundreds in the course of a match-winning 96 against Australia in the final of the triangular series in Harare. (Highlights)
Du Plessis, fell four runs short of what would have been a well-deserved record, when he fell to Mitchell Johnson with the scores level. Moments later, AB de Villiers hit a boundary to seal the match and tournament for the Proteas. (Scorecard)
Du Plessis' teammate, Quinton de Kock was the last man to achieve a hat-trick of ODI hundreds, when he scored 135, 106 and 101 against India in South Africa late last year. The others in the illustrious list are South African ODI captain de Villiers, Herschelle Gibbs and Pakistan greats Saeed Anwar and Zaheer Abbas.
Du Plessis has been in the middle of a dream run in Zimbabwe, having cracked four hundreds in the last five innings. The 30-year-old is now an established number three for South Africa in ODIs and is regarded as one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket.
Du Plessis had served immediate notice, when he made a 78-ball 60 against India on ODI debut in Cape Town in January 2011. Since then, he has not looked behind, accumulating runs at a ferocious pace for his country across all three formats. Du Plessis showed his multi-dimensional skills on Test debut, hitting 78 in the first innings, before compiling a patient 110 in the second to help South Africa through to a thrilling draw at the Adelaide Oval.
Over the years, du Plessis has been named captain of South Africa's T20 side and is considered a star acquisition for the star-studded Chennai Super Kings. The triangular series in Zimbabwe was brought alive by du Plessis' batting and he will now be certainly counted among the new heroes of one-day batting, maybe in the same breath as de Villiers and Virat Kohli.