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By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Dec 5, 2013
A dazzling batting performance, followed by an amazing display of bowling helped South Africa beat India by 141 runs in the first One-Day International (ODI) at the Wanderers, Johannesburg. Quinton de Kock’s ton had earlier powered South Africa to 358 and India were then dented by the pace battery early in the innings, which gave them no chance of a victory.
As India commenced their pursuit of 359, many spoke about their two successful run-chases against Australia earlier this year. However, on the bouncy South African surface, it seemed a different ball game. Rohit Sharma played out two maidens early on and hardly connected to a delivery from Dale Styen. Shikhar Dhawan did hit a few boundaries, but the bounce got the better of him as he tried to pull Morne Morkel and top edged it.
Rohit took 17 balls to get off the mark and was very slow. Virat Kohli too was in trouble a few times as Steyn gave him nervous moments. Morkel too was difficult to play on the surface. However, Kohli got into his stride with a few confident strokes, but India had fallen way behind the eight-ball. And, just when it looked like India were gradually getting back after seeing off the initial testing spell, Ryan McLaren induced an edge from Kohli and it was taken by Jacques Kallis at first-slip. Then McLaren welcomed Yuvraj Singh with a bouncer that hit his gloves. The next ball was pitched fuller and it shattered Yuvraj’s woodwork.
In 15 overs, India were 60 for three. Consider this: they played 61 dot balls in the first 15 overs. And to make matters worse, Suresh Raina ran-out Rohit Sharma due to his anxiety in getting off the mark. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni fought a lone battle from thereon and looked the best Indian batsman by far. He was combative and played at a decent pace. He had some support from Ravindra Jadeja as they put up fifty, but there wasn’t much left to speak about.
Ravichandran Ashwin showed that he didn’t have problems batting in these conditions, but a bad decision saw him dismissed for 19. In the end, India were bowled out in overs.
Earlier, 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.
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 half century in 54 balls and was looking in control. Meanwhile, Amla relatively ambled to his fifty.
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 Mohammed 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.
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.
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) beat India 217 in 41 overs (MS Dhoni 65, Virat Kohli 31; Dale Steyn 3 for 29, Ryan McLaren 3 for 49) by 141 runs.
Man of the Match: Quinton de Kock.
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