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South Africa v Australia, 1st ODI Review: Quinton de Kock scripts Australian annihilation

South African bowler Andile Phehlukwayo (C) celebrates with teammates after dismissing Australian batsman Steven Smith (unseen) during Australia against South Africa ODI cricket match on September 30, 2016 at the Centurion cricket ground in Centurion, South Africa. / AFP / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (Photo credit should read GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images)
South African bowler Andile Phehlukwayo (C) celebrates with teammates after dismissing Australian batsman Steven Smith (unseen) during Australia against South Africa ODI cricket match on September 30, 2016 at the Centurion cricket ground in Centurion, South Africa. / AFP / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (Photo credit should read GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images)

South Africa began the five-match home series with a bang, winning the opening ODI at the SuperSport Park, Centurion comfortably by 6 wickets. The win was scripted by Quinton de Kock, who struck a sparkling 178 and played the lead role in the comfortable win.

Batting in response to Australia’s target of 295, the Proteas chased down the target in just 36.2 overs without facing much of a challenge from the second-string Aussie pace attack.

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Opener Quinton de Kock batted like an immortal today and thrashed the Australians left, right and centre. He exploited all parts of the ground. No bowler could escape his brutality.

He started off bit cautiously against Daniel Worrall and was allowed to take just two singles in the over. But, the way he played the first over, was, by no means an indication of the things which were about to come in the coming overs.

The very next over saw him break the shackles with a six and four off Hastings and that was it. A flurry of sixes and boundaries off his bat began and only ceased when he was dismissed in the 34th over. Till then, he had hit 16 fours and 11 sixes during his 113 balls stay at the crease. He now has 11 hundred in ODIs for South Africa, the most by any Proteas wicket-keeper batsman beating AB de Villiers’ 10.

As the win came closer and closer, he seemed to be getting bit impatient while trying to finish the match. Unfortunately, this impatience brought his downfall as the swashbuckling innings from the young left-hander came to an end when Boland got him caught by Head at the boundary ropes. De Kock had to depart for 178, 10 runs short of Gary Kirsten’s 188, the highest individual score by any South African.

Australia was never in competition. Rilee Rossow and de Kock compiled 145 runs for the first wicket in just 17.1 overs to virtually throw them out of the contest. There was still a lot of runs to be made but with the ease, the duo scored runs, batting didn’t seem to hard.

While there was aggression from both the ends when the openers were batting, the departure of Rilee in the 18th over off Zampa’s bowling put de Kock  on the driver’s seat as the incoming batsman, Faf du Plessis decided to play calmly. the left-hander continued to flourish and a double hundred looked on cards. But, unfortunately, Australia hadn’t made enough runs for him to reach the milestone. Also, Du Plessis and Duminy’s strikes towards the end completely dashed the hopes of an ODI double hundred from a South African.

South Africa lost Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy as they came nearer to the target. De Kock, too, departed with 15 runs required to win ebfore David Miller and Farhaan behardien put the finishing touch the chase.

Earlier, batting first Australia made a stunning recovery from being struggling at 192/6 to end up posting 294/9 at the end of the full quota of overs.  After, being asked to bat, openers David Warner and Aaron Finch put together 64 runs for the first wicket in just 9.3 overs.

Warner and Finch were able to take advantage of the loose bowling from the Rabada – Steyn pair up front. However, the time together was cut short after Parnell was able to strike in the 10th over with the wicket of Warner. The left hander’s cover drive couldn’t get the distance and was picked by Phehlukwayo at mid-off.

Finch and Steven Smith tried to take the innings forward but the tides turned completely against Australia when Phehlukwayo came into action. The right arm fast bowler snapped both Finch and Smith in the 13th over to put the visitors in a spot of bother.

Australian gained some balance with the help of Mitchell Marsh and George Bailey who put up 41 runs for the 4th wicket. Phehlukwayo again struck and brought back his team in the game. Marsh was the man to depart this time.

Bailey continued to fight but struggled to find stable partner. Travis Head stood there with him for another 41 runs stand. Imran Tahir was introduced in the 22nd over, along with Farhaan Behardien. The change by Faf du Plessis worked as Tahir snapped Travis getting stumped him stumped behind to end another good-looking stand for Australia.

Mathews Wade’s cheap dismissal saw the Kangaroos crumble to 192/6. 250 looked like distant possibility give the way Phehlukwayo and Tahir were bowling. However, rescue came from an unexpected corner when John Hasting walked in combined with Bailey to take 79 runs stand for the 7th wicket and help their team reach a respectable position. The right arm fast bowler hit his maiden international fifty and stunned the Proteas.

Phehlukwayo took over later and again enjoyed another success when Hastings tried to dispatch him over long-off but found Behardien at the ropes. Steyn then returned to bowl at the death and took two wickets in two overs to restrict Australia under 300.

South Africa’s bowling attack did a fantastic job today. Andile Phehlukwayo, playing in his second ODI, dragged Australia to the back foot. The right arm fast bowler varied his pace and was able to understand the conditions and take full advantage of it to end with 4/44.

Dale Steyn was slightly expensive but ended with satisfying figures of 2/65. Imran Tahir was also very impressive did the work of containing the Australians and mount pressure on them. Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell had rare off days and struggled for consistency.

Brief Score:

Australia: 294/9 in 50 overs (G Bailey 74; A Phehlukwayo 4/44)

South Africa: 295/4 in 36.2 overs (Q de Kock 178; S Boland 3/67)

Man of the Match: Q de Kock

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