Proteas captain AB de Villiers said on Sunday that he was pleasantly surprised by his side getting past 300 on the slow Bulawayo pitch, crediting Hashim Amla for the large score.
Speaking after his team had completed a 93-run victory to go 1-0 up in the three-game series, De Villiers hailed the effort of his batsmen.
‘There were talks of 250 at one point and even Hash [Amla] said when he came off that he never thought we would get to 300-plus,’ he said.
De Villiers went on to praise Amla’s 109-run opening partnership with Quinton de Kock, who made 63 off 68 balls. ‘I thought it was a great batting performance today. It was set up by the man himself with Quinton [De Kock] and Faf [Du Plessis] batting around him.
‘It shows you that we are quite dangerous with wickets in hand in the last 10 to 15 overs. It was an exceptional batting performance.’
Amla, too, spoke of the strength of his partnership with De Kock, after the pair put on their fourth opening stand worth over 100. ‘I think we complement each other quite well. He’s a fun batsman to bat with and, if he gets off to a good start, I am able to play my natural game.’
The fielding effort also came in for praise from De Villiers, despite the fact that it took almost the entire 50 overs for South Africa to bowl Zimbabwe out. ‘It’s easy to go into a situation where you lose your energy and focus, especially after the first 15 overs where we started well,’ De Villiers said.
‘I thought the boys stuck to their guns quite well, we kept taking wickets and stuck to our skills. It was, all round, a good 100 overs for us.’
The Proteas have a quick turnaround, as they play the second ODI against Zimbabwe on Tuesday morning from 9:30am at the Queen’s Sports Club in Bulawayo.