Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
De Kock hammered a career-best 135
After a war of words between India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and South Africa skipper AB de Villiers, it was the Proteas who emerged triumphant in the first ODI in Johannesburg as they absolutely annihilated the Indians, beating them by a massive margin of 141 runs.
South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock was the hero of the match, smashing a career-best 135.
He was well supported by Hashim Amla, de Villiers and Jean Paul (JP) Duminy, all of whom scored half-centuries.
Dhoni won the toss and elected to bowl first.
However, his decision backfired in the worst possible way as South Africa’s opening pair of Amla and de Kock put together a 152-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, before Amla was clean bowled by Mohammed Shami for 65 off 88 balls, which included five boundaries and a six.
Amla and de Kock’s 152-run partnership is the first opening century stand South Africa have recorded in 69 ODIs.
The last time both South African openers were involved in a century stand was also against India in Ahmedabad in 2010.
Veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis failed to have an impact with the bat as he only managed to score 10 runs before hitting a delivery from Shami straight to Ravindra Jadeja at cover.
Despite Kallis departing early into his innings, de Kock and de Villiers registered a 75-run partnership, during which de Kock brought up his second ODI century, before being dismissed caught and bowled by Virat Kohli for 135 off just 121 deliveries, which included 18 boundaries and three sixes.
De Kock’s fabulous innings of 135 is the highest score for a South African batsman against India, beating Graeme Smith’s 134 in Kolkata in 2005.
De Villiers and Duminy continued to pile on the runs as they amassed a 105-run partnership, during which both batsmen registered their half-centuries, before de Villiers was cleaned up by Shami for 77 off only 47 balls, which included six boundaries and four maximums.
De Villiers brought up 1,000 ODI runs in 2013 during his stellar knock.
Duminy and de Villiers’ quickfire 105-run partnership came off just 46 balls, making it the second-fastest 100-run partnership in ODIs.
It is also South Africa’s fastest century partnership against India.
South Africa eventually ended on a mammoth 358 at the end of their 50 overs, which is their second-highest ODI score against India.
Shami was the pick of the Indian bowlers with three wickets, while Kohli chipped in with one.
In the last ten overs of South Africa’s innings, India conceded 135 runs, which is the most they have given away since 2000.
Chasing a massive target of 359 to win, India got off to a poor start as opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan was caught behind off the bowling of Morne Morkel for 12 runs.
Kohli managed to score 31 runs before he was caught at first slip by Kallis off the bowling of Ryan McLaren.
Yuvraj Singh only lasted two balls before being cleaned bowled by McLaren.
Rohit Sharma also failed with the bat as he was run out for 18.
Suresh Raina was back in the pavilion just a few overs later as he too was run out.
The high point of India’s innings came when Dhoni and Jadeja put together a 50-run partnership before Jadeja was cleaned up by Kallis for 29.
Dhoni managed to score 65 runs off 71 balls, which included eight boundaries and a six, before getting his stumps shattered by Dale Steyn.
During his outstanding innings of 65, Dhoni became India’s top-scorer in ODIs as captain, surpassing Mohammad Azharuddin, who accumulated 5,239 runs.
India were put out of their misery when Shami was out caught and bowled to Steyn for a duck.
India were bowled out for 217, giving South Africa a convincing 141-run win.
Steyn and McLaren were the most successful South African bowlers with three wickets apiece, while Morkel and Kallis snapped up one wicket each.
South Africa’s 141-run win margin is their second-highest against India.
Their highest win margin still remains the 157-run thrashing in Durban in in 2006.
Dhoni was fuming with his side’s performance and stated that they had to pull their socks up during the next match.
“The thumb is fine, nothing to worry,” he said. “Not a good game for us. We didn’t start well with the new ball when we bowled. It was definitely not a 350 pitch so our bowlers let us down.
“I think we were quite well prepared. We made the most of those 2-3 days before this. It’s important for us to bowl well. Once the opposition has scored 350 we have to go for the bowling. More than the death bowling I was more disappointed with the new-ball bowling. We didn’t find the right lengths. I think we need a bit more pace. Let’s hope for the best.”
De Villiers was delighted with what he had witnessed and noted that if the Proteas continue putting up performances like that, then “we’re going to win trophies in the future”.
“We feel we’re going to win trophies in the future and that’s how we’re going to play,” he said. “I was going to bowl first too. I thought they were a bit too short in the first ten overs and that gave us the kickstart.
“Quinton showed great maturity for someone his age. We should a lot of flair. JP timed it very well and made it look really easy. Steyn’s a bit of a freak with any kind of ball. Splendid performance. India will look to bounce but we’re not going to stand back.”
De Kock was named Man of the Match for his spectacular century.
“I’m very proud, didn’t expect this to happen,” he said. “I’m also proud of the other guys for their individual performances. I’m not one for the punching the air celebrations. I like to keep it cool. I wouldn’t say I’m the star. I’m just a 20-year-old trying to do my thing.”