Quinton de Kock scored 178 off 113 balls to take South Africa an easy win by 6 wickets over Australia © AFP
Quinton de Kock scored 178 off 113 balls to take South Africa an easy win by 6 wickets over Australia © AFP

Riding on Quinton de Kock‘s wonderful knock of 178, hosts South Africa defeated their arch-rivals Australia by 6 wickets in the first One-Day International (ODI) at Centurion. Following a target of 295 set by the visitors, the hosts got off to an excellent start as their openers de Kock and Rilee Rossouw registered an opening stand of 145 runs in just 17.1 overs before the later mentioned batsman was dismissed by Adam Zampa on his very first ball of his first over. Except for the young right-arm leg-spinner, no other bowler found the correct line or length to contain de Kock.Following the target of 295, de Kock unleashed his wrath from the word Play of the second innings as he banished the ODI World No.1 team Australia to bits and pieces. He had a classy touch in his every stroke that he displayed, be it a defensive shot (which was very rare in this innings) or an attacking stroke (abundance). He not only managed to hit cleanly, but he also displayed perfection and sheer class as tore off the Australian bowling unit without any mercy.

Russouw who was into the squad instead of Hashim Amla opened the innings and laid an excellent innings into contention for the opening spot. Unlike his attacking partner at the other end, he constructed his innings ball-by-ball. He made sure that the strike was rotated and that his partner received ample amount of strike as he was in finest of the touches. After staying on the crease and being the second lead in the partnership, Russouw gained momentum as good as his partner and he too destroyed the fast Aussie bowling attack with ease. He slapped some glorious sixers to John Holland who is leading the visitors pace attack to announce his aggressive gear shifting.

These  two went on to score runs at ease as the Australian skipper tried every possible bowling variation which failed miserably. With the leading pacers getting bashed so brutally, it was expected that Zampa would come into the play pretty soon; but Smith seemed to have certain apprehensions about getting a leg-spinner against two well-settled batsmen. But it was in the 17th over of the second innings that Zampa was called into ball and the young leg-spinner struck at the very first ball of his spell. Russouw attempted a failed reverse sweep which hit his pads and would have eventually gone on to hit the off-stump. These Australians had got the much-needed breakthrough but their celebrations were cold as ice as they still had to get rid of de Kock who looked unstoppable at the other end.

It was the South African skipper Faf du Plessis who had walked in at No.3 and it looked very clear that he had to just rotate the strike and not waste too much time and take risks because it was already done easily at the other end of the wicket.  The captain understood his role and played exactly how he was supposed to and just rotated the strike whenever he could. In middle of all this raining sixes and fours, de Kock went on to score his 11th ODI century of just 74 balls.

The required rate never for this chase was of almost 5.50 RPO, but with such monstrous hitting from the left-handed batsman, the scoring run rate never stooped below 8 RPO which certainly explains how dominant he was over the opponents. The duo of du Plessis and de Kock together scored 123 runs off 87 deliveries before the skipper was clean bowled by Scott Boland as the skipper inside-edged the ball over the stumps. JP Duminy tried to take some glory to himself as he too scored delightful boundaries before his innings ended at nine runs. It was just two balls later that de Kock too walked back to the dugout as he tried to wind up the match quickly but found Travis Head at the boundary rope. This was the end of a colossal innings that never looked off-balance. The hosts lost these wickets in quick intervals, but till then the match was already in control as it was the just the formalities of completing the winning runs.

Initially, South Africa won the toss and elected to field first on a wicket which looked conducive for batting. Australia, after a promising start, from openers David Warner and Aaron Finch, the middle order crumbled which lead to George Bailey resurrecting the fallen innings with No.7 walked in John Hastings. If was the fall of wickets at regular intervals which lead to the visitors putting up just 294 on board after the end of 50 overs, whereas a score in a bracket of 315-320 looked very likely on cards. South African bowlers somehow cut loose in the end as Australia managed to post a fighting total of 294 runs for the loss of nine wickets in 50 overs on the board.

Brief scores

Australia 294 for 9 in 50 Overs (George Bailey 74, John Hastings 51; Andile Phehlukwayo 4 for 44, Dale Steyn 2 for 65) vs lost to South Africa 295 for 4 in 36.2 Overs (Quinton de Kock 178, Rilee Rossouw 63; Scott Boland 3 for 67) by 6 wickets

(Rohan A. Sawant is a reporter for CricketCountry. He loves Football, Cricket and is a die-hard Arsenal fan. He is an avid writer and has some knowledge about cricket and so he is trying his best to pour with his Laptop as he finds writing with pen and paper very clumsy. You can follow him on Twitter @iswandering)