If you wanted to know how badly South Africa wanted to win 5-0, you need look no further than Imran Tahir. In the 38th over, with Australia requiring 119 runs at more than nine an over, and shortly after David Warner had survived a lbw appeal, Tahir took it on himself to tell Warner who was boss. He sprayed down a shower of words which lasted into the next over and took the intervention of the umpires, the captain Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla to calm down.

While Warner said he had "no idea," what set Tahir off, du Plessis explained it was merely a case of the legspinner following through on his request for South Africa to boss the opposition with body language.

"He wears his heart on his sleeve. He loves doing well. I haven't seen him like that but it just shows how badly he wanted to win the game," du Plessis said. "He realised David Warner was playing a great knock and he had to try and get under his skin. They had a few words."

Whether Tahir will be punished by the ICC remains to be seen but as far as du Plessis is concerned, his only crime was passion. "I don't see anything wrong with that. When Immi was done, they put their arms around each other's shoulder said lets have a beer afterwards. Immi is obviously going to have a glass of water," du Plessis joked.

The major damage Tahir inflicted on Australia was not of the verbal kind, though. In his first over, Tahir struck a double-blow when he bowled both Aaron Finch and Steven Smith and derailed Australia's chase. After being rested from the Port Elizabeth game in favour of Tabraiz Shamsi, Tahir wanted to make a statement and from the praise du Plessis heaped on him, he made it loud and clear.

"He is an absolute gun," du Plessis said. "He is the reason we are where we are in one-day cricket. He is a competitor, he wants to win games and he wanted to show everyone that he is still our No.1 which he is. He is my banker."

Tahir was not the only standout from South Africa's win. Rilee Rossouw batted with a fractured finger to score his third ODI hundred and first of the series, Andile Phehlukwayo topped the wicket-takers' list and JP Duminy scored a second half-century in the series to ensure South Africa had contributions from several sides. Ultimately, the team effort is what du Plessis hopes will be the legacy of this series, in which South Africa made history by white-washing Australia.

"We didn't expect 5-0; we just wanted to beat the Aussies," du Plessis said. "And then when we got to 3-0, it was important for us to make sure we don't take our foot off the gas. We wanted to make history and we did that.

"It's a special feeling. I am hoping tomorrow when we wake up, we will see this incredible team effort and it will last a long time. I am incredibly proud to sit here and be captain of a side that has done that. We were a team right through the series."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent