Temba Bavuma became the 12th player in history to score an ODI century on debut as South Africa posted 354-5 in their one-off ODI against Ireland in Benoni.
Bavuma became the second South African to score a century on debut after Colin Ingram achieved the feat against Zimbabwe in 2010, and his 113 was the sixth-highest score ever on debut. He also became the first black African to score an ODI century for the Proteas.
In what was billed as a curtain-raiser to the five-match ODI series against Australia, no less than three debutants were picked for the one-off clash at Willowmoore Park, with Bavuma, Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorius all selected. Russell Domingo stated last week that Bavuma would open the batting, and the decision was justified with a stellar, record-breaking performance.
There were jitters at first as he was dropped in the slips when he was on one, but once he found his feet and his rhythm he looked in excellent touch. His opener partner, Quinton de Kock, was also dropped, but both players gathered themselves to hit the highest first-wicket stand at Willowmoore Park – their 157 beating Herschel Gibbs and Graeme Smith’s 155 against Bangladesh back in 2002.
With both players eyeing out a century, De Kock chopped one onto his stumps looking to play across the line. Kevin O’Brien was the man to get him for 82. Stand-in skipper Faf du Plessis walked out and played second fiddle to the Bavuma show, as Bavuma leapt in the air to celebrate three figures, reminiscent of the Test century he scored at Newlands at the beginning of the year.
Du Plessis skied one to walk for 21 and two overs left Bavuma had to go too as the visitors started to hold onto their catches. Bavuma’s 113 came off 123 balls, and could well give Domingo a selection headache if future ODI series, as he wasn’t selected for the Australia series.
JP Duminy and Farhaan Behardien then took the total past 300 with four overs remaining, and played excellent finishing roles as they brought up their 50 stand. Duminy then brought up a fifty of his own. It was his first half-century in 12 innings, and you could tell how much that meant to him as he desperately looks to return to some form. In the final over, Behardien also showed his worth to the side with a half-century, which came off just 21 balls which is now the fastest 50 at Willowmoore Park.
30 runs were scored off the last two overs. Ireland have a huge task ahead of them if they want to get anywhere near this total.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images