By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Dec 5, 2013
Quinton de Kock’s dazzling innings of 135 and a late assault by AB de Villiers and Jean-Paul Duminy took South Africa to an imposing 358 for four in the first One-Day International (ODI) against India at the Wanderers, Johannesburg. The opening stand helped South Africa build a very good platform and then the batsmen simply smashed the Indian bowlers all over at the death.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and elected to field considering the rain in the air. India retained the same side that beat West Indies at Kanpur in November. South Africa had Dale Steyn and Jacques Kallis into their eleven.
Openers Hashim Amla and de Kock started off solidly with the latter taking charge early on. Even as Amla was taking his time, de Kock wasted no opportunity to score. The Indian bowlers did hit back with Mohammed Shami moving the ball around, but the South African openers were ready to see off the difficult period.
MS Dhoni shuffled his bowlers around a little, even getting his spinners into play. However, Amla and de Kock didn’t look troubled. In fact, de Kock got to his 18th ODI half century in 54 balls and was looking in control. Meanwhile, Amla relatively ambled to his fifty. It was his fifth against India.
If the Indian bowlers pitched it outside the off-stump, de Kock was ready to crash it to the boundary. He also swept Ravichandran Ashwin to the boundary a few times and was reach to drive to at anything. Gradually, his score grew and a hundred was in the offing.
Meanwhile, Amla was bowled by Shami for 65 as he inside edged one in the 30th over onto his stumps. At that stage South Africa were 152 for one. Kallis came in and looked decent to start with as he hit two boundaries through the off-side. However, trying to exploit the batting powerplay restrictions, he lofted the ball straight into Ravindra Jadeja’s hands at cover.
But, that only brought in AB de Villiers, and the South African captain took no time in taking the attack to India. At the other end, de Kock got a free hit from Mohit Sharma and he dispatched it into the stands to move to 98. He ultimately completed his ton by working a single through the leg side and it had taken him only 101 balls.
Both de Villiers and de Kock were now hitting it around and took the scoring rate to near six an over. Even after getting his ton, de Kock put his head down and was looking to convert it into a big one. And, Dhoni brought in Virat Kohli into the attack, de Kock smashed him over long-on for six. However, he then lobbed a simple chance to Kohli as India were relieved. His 135 came off 121 balls and contained 18 fours and three sixes.
Given the nature of the wicket, stroke-making was very easy and Jean-Paul Duminy entered to take control. In 44 overs, South Africa were 258 for three. Mohit was smashed for 16 in the 45th over and that is where the real carnage began. Even Shami was hit for two sixes in the next over and Bhuvneshwar Kumar was smacked for three in the 47th. While de Villiers got to his fifty in 38 balls, Duminy was a lot quicker as he got there in 25 balls.
The strokeplay was simply incredible as the made room and lofted through the off-side with ease. Anything on a length was carted over the leg-side for maximums. The hundred partnership came off only 45 balls as de Villiers literally swept Shami for a six over fine-leg. Shami got his revenge though as he yorked him as de Villiers tried to sweep another.
India have chased a few 350-plus totals recently, but this is going to be a different challenge. The conditions are different here, but all eyes on Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan when India commence their run-chase.
South Africa 358 for 4 in 50 0vers (Quinton de Kock 135, Hashim Amla 65, AB de Villiers 77, JP Duminy 59*; Mohammed Shami 3 for 68) vs India
Also on cricketcountry.com