The England Lions, spearheaded by Ben Stokes (4-22 and 31), drew first blood in the five-match ODI series when they beat South Africa ‘A’ by four wickets at Chevrolet Park on Sunday.
The Proteas’ ‘second best’ were restricted to a mere 172 all out in 39.3 overs after being sent into bat.
Although the home side fought back very well, the visitors managed to achieve their target with 15.3 overs to spare.
Earlier none of the recognised SA A batsmen made a start. They struggled on a batting strip that had enough in it for the seam bowlers in spite of the heat.
All-rounder David Wiese scored a gutsy 39 before throwing his wicket away.
Stokes tasted success with his first delivery, claiming the scalp of the in-form Dean Elgar (21, 43b), clearly outwitted with a slower delivery.
Stokes had figures of 2-3 after three overs after he removed the danger man, Theunis de Bruyn. He later ended Wiese’s flurry and then bowled Marchant te Lange.
Matters could have been even worse for the home team as a couple of slip chances went down.
Apart from Stokes, left-arm opening bowler, Harry Gurney, another player not involved in the two four-day matches, got among the wickets with 3-26.
Mark Wood (0-19) was again impressive but unlucky, while Boyd Rankin bagged 2-46.
In the Lions innings De Lange (2-31) continued the South African fightback after Chris Morris (2-23) removed opener, Alex Lees.
Fellow opener, Jason Roy, stood firm for a while to score 43 – the highest total in the match.
On 88-4 SA A had a sniff, but Stokes and Sam Billings (19) had other plans, adding 44 for the 5th wicket. With both of them falling four balls apart, it was game on again at 134/6.
The players are now off to Kimberley where the second match will played on Wednesday.