Opening batsman Quinton de Kock and leg-spinner Imran Tahir were at the fore of captain Faf du Plessis’ praise as South Africa beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets in Sunday’s first ODI at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
Sri Lanka were limited to 231 all out in 47 overs after Du Plessis won the toss and opted to bowl first. Tahir completed telling figures of three for 26 in 10, which included the key dismissals of middle-order pair Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis.
De Kock later struck 81, while Du Plessis amassed 112 not out en route to a successful pursuit with three overs to spare. The duo gathered a 136-run stand for the second wicket after opener Reeza Hendricks’ early departure.
‘I thought we played really well. It was a good toss to win. And to chase it down like that against Sri Lanka’s spinners on a slow wicket, I think that was pretty good,’ said Du Plessis.
‘Imran didn’t give anything away. He is really hard to face for a new batsman. If Quinton is scoring runs, he always puts the bowlers under pressure. It’s nice to bat with him – he makes the flow really easy.’
Defeated skipper Lasith Malinga lamented losing wickets at important junctures – as well as Perera, Mendis and others’ inabilities to convert solid starts to innings of De Kock or Du Plessis-like heights.
‘I think we lost two wicket at a crucial time. That’s why we lagged and ended up on 230-odd. At the moment we have to analyse who is the set batsman and he should finish the game. We needn’t do much different, I think,’ added Malinga.
The result afforded the hosts an early lead in the five-match series. The second ODI will be played at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Wednesday.