Quinton de Kock achieved his 11th ODI ton     Getty Images
Quinton de Kock achieved his 11th ODI ton Getty Images

South Africa and Australia ran past Ireland in their respective one-off matches, and now were ready to face each other in a highly contested five-One-Day International (ODI) series. South Africa were already handicapped with the loss of their regular skipper AB de Villiers, who is being operated on this injured elbow. Faf du Plessis is now leading the home side against a young Australian side marshalled by Steven Smith. With a lot of verbal volleys it was now time to bring words into action and the hosts made sure they were heard loud and clear from ball numero uno. du Plessis won the toss and elected to put Australia into bat. Full Cricket Scorecard, South Africa Vs Australia, 2nd ODI

A decision that South African team would have been hoping to get right. Australia batted excellently in part and made sure they were always ahead of the eight-ball. George Bailey and John Hastings struck fifties which helped Australia set an imposing target of 295 runs. South Africa rocketed their away to a hundred by an almost superlative ton by Quinton de Kock, ensuring a 6-wicket for the team and a 1-0 lead in the series. With a crucial second tie coming up on Sunday, both South Africa and Australia would be eyeing to attain a crucial lead/series leveling win before we reach the business end of the series. South Africa in all probability will not be making massive changes in the side, here’s a likely XI that du Plessis might field.

Batting Order:

Quinncy‘ as he is popular know in the team, went on beast mode and mauled everything the Australian bowlers threw at him. de Kock looked ferocious while pulling and hooking the ball was equally well with his footwork. de Kock was heavy on Adam Zampa knocking him for 36 runs from just 17 balls. de Kock struck 113 ball 178 played till the end of the match.

de Kock was ably supported by Rilee Rossouw, who himself batted with aggression. Rossouw who was drafted in the South African side replacing de Villiers’s , what is more interesting is that he took the slot reserved for Hashim Amla. Rossouw made good use of the medium pace of Mitchell Marsh and Scott Bolland, who were expected to provide Australia with wickets. Rossouw made a 45-ball 43.

Coming in at No.3 will be skipper Faf du Plessis who has been struggling with the bat. du Plessis looked to be struggling and nervous out in the middle. du Plessis faced 36 balls for his 26 acted as an observer to de Kock’s onslaught. It was imperative for de Plessis to stay in the middle and fight it hard for runs.

Middle Order: JP Duminy came into bat below du Plessis and showed why he is their most reliable batsmen. With De Kock nearing a 200-ton, Duminy did not take time to hit a few lusty blows and make him wait for another chance to achieve this milestone. Duminy struck 8-ball 9 that included 2-boundaries. De Kock fell after bring his team to victory which left David Miller and Farhaan Behardien to do the rounding up job.

Miller who has been having a poor year with the bat, ended up making run-a-ball 10. Behardien added 5 runs to team overall total of 295 runs. Miller will be expected to get the ball rolling in remaining matches and prove that he is not a one-season player. Behardein will want to play the sheet anchor role in the team and hold up on end for them.

Lower Order: Coming to their bowling attack South Africa has a blend of youth and experience. Dale Steyn who has been inconsistent with his bowling picked up two wickets including the key scalp of George Bailey who was playing a blinder. Another player who has been a part of the ODI format but never cemented his spot is Wayne Parnell. Parnell did wayward but did manage to surprise a few with skidness.

South Africa s bowler of the year Kagiso Rabada was again flawless and justified his award. Radaba was spot-on in his line & length. Best bowler of the match was the upcoming Andile Phehlukwayo. Phehlukwayo with his left-arm pace became a menace for Australian top-order. Phehlukwayo picked up four-wickets, which included the likes of David Warner and Aaron Finch.

Finally coming to the youthful Imran Tahir, who never seems to slowdown. Tahir was again a problem for Australia with his leg-break. Even though he picked up just one wicket, Tahir was hard to get runs off giving just 46 runs in his 10 overs.

South Africa likely XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Rilee Rossouw, Faf du Plessis (c), Jean-Paul Duminy, David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir

(Vishal Mehra is a journalist with CricketCountry, who enjoys his weekly dose of anime, monthly viewing of sitcoms, daily playing of cricket once every few hours moon, and currently venturing into table-tennis . His twitter handle is @capturethecatch )