From a first-ball duck in the first ODI in Paarl to carrying his bat in a magnificent maiden ODI century in Bloemfontein. Janneman Malan would’ve been quite nervous when he walked out to face Mitchell Starc at the Manguang Oval on Wednesday, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
After a scintillating bowling performance by Lungi Ngidi and Co., it was Malan’s turn to crack the nod of approval of Proteas fans across the country and he certainly didn’t disappoint.
An unbeaten 129 off 139 deliveries by the 23-year-old paved the way for a famous six-wicket victory over the Australians and a first series win of the summer for the Proteas.
READ: Malan bats SA to series win in Bloemfontein
And for Malan, it was down to the valuable contributions of every player that placed the Proteas in a winning position.
‘Compliments to the bowling unit, finishing that innings was brilliant and Jon-Jon [Smuts] for steadying the ship, Heinrich [Klaasen] with his run-a-ball 50 and David [Miller] at the end. It was great partners to have in the chase,’ said Malan, who shared the Man of the Match award with Ngidi after his career-best figures of 6-58.
Malan shared 5o-run partnerships with each of those three batters, all coming with a great deal of patience and some intelligent batting.
We could watch this inning from Malan all day long!
Sum up his maiden ton using 1 emoji.
We’re definitely going first #ProteaFire #SAvAUS pic.twitter.com/o3r1HLNwrx
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) March 4, 2020
Instead of trying to be aggressive, Malan and the other batsmen decided to break the relatively small Australian total down by setting smaller targets.
‘There was a bit of a chat about targets after 30 overs. My partners came in when I was itching a bit and they just said that I need to pull it through and it was a well-composed finish by the team.’
The patient approach eventually took the South Africans within touching distance of the required run rate, eventually presenting the opportunity for Malan and Miller to go for boundaries.
With 36 needed from the final five overs, the pair dispatched every loose delivery by the Australian bowlers. Malan believes it got slightly easier to bat towards the end of the game:
‘With the sun going down, it just started skidding a bit more. I think the ball probably got a bit wet in the outfield and it felt a bit easier to hit at the end,’ Malan said.
Photo: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix