IND vs SA 1st ODI: Temba Bavuma, Van der Dussen tons lead South Africa to easy win
All-round display from South Africa highlighted by twin tons from skipper Bavuma and MoM Van der Dussen, guide the hosts to a comfortable 31-run win over India in the first ODI.
South Africa rode on twin centuries from skipper Temba Bavuma (110 off 143 balls) and Player-of-the-Match Rassie van der Dussen (129* off 96 balls) to canter to a 31-run win over India in the first of the three-match ODI series in Paarl on Wednesday. Chasing 297 on a sluggish pitch, the visitors only managed 265/8 in their 50 overs.
South Africa reaped the rewards of disciplined bowling. The fast bowlers stuck to bowling back of length within the stumps while the spin trio of Tabraiz Shamsi, Keshav Maharaj and Aiden Markram accounted for four Indian wickets, for 122 runs across 26 overs. Each of India’s top five got starts, but barring Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan none managed a fifty.
Skipper KL Rahul was the first to go, caught behind off an innocuous delivery from Markram. Dhawan and Kohli then stitched a 92-run partnership off 102 balls, keeping the asking rate under check.
Dhawan was more aggressive, picking up from his rich run in Sri Lanka last July where he ended the three-match series as India's top-scorer. He took on the spinners early, often coming down the track to disrupt their lengths, and exploited the field restrictions to collect boundaries.
The left-handed batter reached 50 off 51 balls, and the 50-run stand with Kohli was raised in just 58 deliveries. Kohli, en route his 63rd half-century, went past Sachin Tendulkar's tally of most runs by an Indian batter away from home (5,065). Coming off a decent run of form - his last 10 ODI innings had seen him cross 50 six times - Kohli looked primed to end the 26-month wait for a hundred before his mistimed sweep was pouched by Bavuma at mid-wicket.
India lost Dhawan and Kohli in the space of 14 runs and 17 balls, and the departure of top-three triggered a familiar collapse.
Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Venkatesh Iyer struggled for answers against a supremely disciplined Proteas attack. Pant was stumped around his legs off Andile Phehlukwayo while the two Iyers were dismissed by Lungi Ngidi off short balls. India lost four wickets for 18 runs inside six overs, going from 181/3 to 199/7.
The hosts kept pegging away as the scoreboard pressure mounted, with five of their six bowlers picking at least a wicket each. Shardul Thakur counterpunched with a late, unbeaten 43-ball 50, but the contest was long over.
The match marked the List A captaincy debut for Rahul, and some of his tactics came under the scanner straightaway.
The stand-in skipper didn't give debutant Venkatesh Iyer a bowl despite announcing a day before that the 27-year-old will be tried as a sixth bowling option. India have been missing the additional bowler since Hardik Pandya hurt his back, and with the South Africans negotiating Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal and Thakur with ease, the stage was set for Iyer to try his medium pace. Unfortunately for him, the opportunity never arrived. Iyer's inclusion meant India benched a bankable batter in Suryakumar Yadav, something that came back to bite them in the steep chase.
Bavuma, Rassie excel
Contrasting centuries from Bavuma and van der Dussen propelled South Africa to 296/4 after they chose to bat. The duo came together with South Africa 68/4 in the 18th over, having lost Markram and Quinton de Kock in a space of 10 runs.
It was the second ODI hundred for both batters who went about the repair job with remarkable composure and risk-free batting. Their 204-run partnership came off just 189 balls, built on the classic ODI template of strike rotation and finding the odd boundary.
The highlight of their innings was the clinical neutralisation of the Indian spinners, using deft placements and sweeps—conventional and reverse—to good effect. Chahal and Ashwin went for 53 runs apiece, their lone success coming in the form of de Kock early in the innings.
Van der Dussen was more enterprising of the two, using his wrists to exploit a pretty unimaginative field. As his innings progressed, Bavuma too found his range, using the open spaces on the leg side. He broke the shackles in the 25th over, sweeping Chahal through mid-wicket for four before driving him past cover for another boundary.
The Indian bowlers were not particularly bad, but were just not able to produce many wicket-taking deliveries. Jasprit Bumrah was typically accurate, finding his length early and troubling the batters with sharp lift. Consistently touching 140 kph, he was difficult to score off and returned the best figures for India (2/48).
Van der Dussen took a special liking for Shardul Thakur. A middle-stump full toss was deposited deep over the mid-wicket fence, and when Thakur went full on the off-stump in the slog overs, he walked across his stumps and slapped him over the cow corner. A ball later, Thakur was crashed through point for four as the Proteas motored along, eventually scoring enough to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
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