The 1st ODI between India and South Africa at Boland Park, Paarl ended to be a high-scoring encounter. Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma opted to bat on a slow dry track. South Africa were off to a sluggish start after Bumrah struck early to dismiss opener J Malan (6 runs off 10 deliveries).
Assessing the conditions, KL Rahul had gone with both Ashwin and Chahal in the XI. Seasoned campaigner Ashwin thus made a comeback to the 50 over format with a new partner in the form of Chahal. The spinners came into action soon after the batting powerplay. Ashwin bamboozled Quinton de Kock (27 runs off 41 deliveries) in the 16th over and debutant Venkatesh Iyer ran out Aiden Markram with a superb direct hit to reduce the Proteas to 68-3.
Twin centuries recover the hosts to a solid total
India looked in full control midway in the innings. But the duo of captain Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen stitched a record 4th wicket partnership of 203 runs asserting dominance over the Indian bowling attack. Both Bavuma and van der Dussen kept the spinners at bay by making great use of the sweep shot. Shardul Thakur went for runs ending with the figures of 72 runs in 10 overs with no wicket.
Bavuma batted clinically to reach his second hundred in ODIs. His accomplice van der Dussen was the aggressor in the partnership proved once again that he is a big player in the making for South Africa. He remained unbeaten for his ton( 129* runs off 96 deliveries) with 9 boundaries and 4 maximums. South Africa put up a huge total of 296-4 in 50 overs, the momentum being on their side.
“(Feels) really good. Coming in under a bit of pressure at 60-odd for three. Temba and myself first thought is to get a bit of a partnership going. Knew if we let their spinners settle it’s going to be a long and tricky day. He played an anchoring innings allowing me to express myself. For me in the middle order It’s about upping the intensity when you come in.
Chahal there, if you let him settle, it was turning for him, it was conditions he’ll fancy himself in. Had to get the reverse-sweep and sweeps out early and not allow him to let him settle. Learnings I have taken in the last year or two is if you have your plans and you’ve done the preparation, need to back yourself to execute whether it’s the first ball or the 100th ball.
Stuff like the reverse-sweeps and sweeps – In the past I might’ve taken 15-20 balls, but today I decided .. the conditions told me to take it early on. Knew that coming in there would be swing in the morning. Was hard for the guys to start. As the ball gets older, you need to have strong positions and look straight. It’s not a ground where there’s a lot of pace to work with in terms of third man and rotating. So you gotta hit the gaps hard and take calculated risks.
As soon as you start forcing you’ll get in trouble. If we bowl well, hit that 6-7 metre length, and if our spinners can keep it on the stumps, I think we’ll make it tough for them. Stats tell you we’re 70 above par, but this is cricket. Can’t say too much.” van der Dussen, at innings break.
Kohli-Dhawan shine , Middle Order fumbles
India have been a master in the art of chasing in the limited-overs format. Captain K L Rahul and senior southpaw Shikhar Dhawan opened the batting with a positive approach. Rahul edged an outside off-stump delivery of Markram to head back to the dugout in the penultimate over of the powerplay. Dhawan who was playing international cricket after a while looked in great touch. He scored runs at a brisk pace and countered the Proteas pace attack comfortably.
Kohli was playing his first ODI after being sacked as the ODI skipper. He played his vintage shots and looked to build a crucial partnership with Dhawan. When Kohli and Dhawan were at the crease, India were steadily cruising towards the target.
India lost both the batters in quick succession that exposed the inexperienced middle order in the run chase. From 138-1 in the 26th over, India tumbled down to 188-6 in 36th over. Ngidi dismissed Shreyas Iyer and Venkatesh Iyer cheaply while Rishabh Pant perished to Phelukwayo.
“20 runs extra” proved costly , admits skipper
From a comprehensive position, the Men In Blue came apart at the seams as the hosts ripped the middle order apart. In the end, Shardul Thakur showed some resistance and stayed unbeaten for his maiden ODI fifty(50* runs off 43 deliveries).
“It was a nice game. There’s so much to learn. We started off really well, we couldn’t get wickets in the middle. We’ll look to see how we get wickets in the middle overs and stop the opposition. The middle-order couldn’t get going. We were on par for the first 20-25 overs of the game.
I thought we would chase it down easily but SA bowled really well and got crucial wickets. I didn’t bat after the 20th over, I don’t know if it changed drastically. Virat and Shikhar told that it was a good wicket to bat on, you just had to spend some time in the middle, unfortunately we couldn’t get the partnership going.
They did really well, they put pressure on the bowlers and we couldn’t get those wickets in the middle. 290+ was 20 runs extra, but we just needed more partnerships in the middle. Every game is important for us, we all want to go out there and give our best performances. We haven’t played one-day cricket for a while, we have the WC in mind and we want to get the best XI on the park. We’ll make mistakes but we’ll learn from them.” KL Rahul stated in the post match presentation.
Centurion Rassie Van der Dussen was adjudged the Player Of The Match for his heroics with the bat when his team was in a precarious situation.
India will clash against the Proteas in the same venue for the 2nd ODI. It will be a do-or-die match for the visitors to stay alive in the series.
India(Playing XI) :
KL Rahul (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Shardul Thakur, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal
South Africa(Playing XI) :
Quinton de Kock (wk), Janneman Malan, Aiden Markram, Temba Bavuma (c), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi
South Africa: 296 for 4 in 50 overs (Rassie van der Dussen 129 not out, Temba Bavuma 110; Jasprit Bumrah 2/48).
India : 265 for 8 in 50 overs. (S Dhawan 79, V Kohli 51; Andile Phehlukawayo 2/26).
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