Quinton de Kock’s tenure as ODI skipper got off to the best possible start when a new-look Proteas team beat England by seven wickets at Newlands on Tuesday.
Both teams were playing their first games since the World Cup in England last year, with the visitors carrying the deserved tag as World Champions heading into the start of the three-match series.
There were debuts for Jon-Jon Smuts and Lutho Sipamla as a new era for South African cricket started, while Matthew Parkinson got his first ODI cap for England.
De Kock won the toss and surprisingly decided to bowl first.
But, it was a decision that turned out pretty well as the Proteas restricted England to 258-8 in their 50 overs.
Spinner Tabraiz Shamsi was the pick of the Proteas bowlers picking up three English scalps, while only conceding 38 runs in his 10 overs, while Smuts and Sipamla both got their first ODI scalps.
A valiant 87 by Joe Denly and a quick-fire 40 by Chris Woakes helped the visitors to a respectable total after being 131-6 at an early troubled stage.
The Proteas’ innings got off to a poor start after Reeza Hendricks was caught behind by Jonny Bairstow for only six, trying to cut Woakes through the covers.
Temba Bavuma joined De Kock out in the middle in what was only his third ODI.
The pair managed to steady the ship for the Proteas and continued to grow in confidence and stature as the second powerplay wore on.
They restored the home side’s innings after the early wicket and soon brought up their 50-run partnership.
Excellent running between the wickets and not the best of bowling by the English attack presented De Kock and Bavuma with opportunities to score frequently and keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Both raced to their half-centuries with Bavuma a bit more aggressive before they brought up their century stand as cracks began to open up in the England bowling.
Poor deliveries by spinners Parkinson and Denly presented big-hitting opportunities, while De Kock also took the attack to Tom Curran with a massive six straight over his head.
Bavuma didn’t shy away from going on the attack himself, scooping Woakes over fine-leg for a brilliant maximum.
Captain Eoin Morgan had no answers to the focused and sensible approach by the two batsmen, as they first brought up their century stand to then surpass the 150-run mark in their partnership.
De Kock would eventually bring up his 15th ODI century off 107 deliveries as the Proteas reached 200 and in complete control of the match.
The wicketkeeper then fell shortly after his milestone, bowled by Joe Root for 107 off 113, bringing to an end a 173-run partnership with Bavuma – the highest second-wicket stand for South Africa against England.
Rassie van der Dussen joined Bavuma out in the middle but the latter would depart two runs shy of a century – trapped in front by a good Chris Jordan delivery.
Van der Dussen and Smuts then fought off a nervous finish to the match as they chased the remaining runs with 14 deliveries remaining.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (c; wk), Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, Jon-Jon Smuts, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Beuran Hendricks, Lungi Ngidi, Lutho Sipamla, Tabraiz Shamsi.
England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Joe Denly, Tom Banton, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Matthew Parkinson.
Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix