South Africa rewrote the ODI World Cup record books in a 102-run victory over Sri Lanka in Delhi on Saturday.
The Proteas posted the highest ever World Cup total of 428-5, bettering the previous World Cup high of 417 made by Australia against Afghanistan at Perth in 2015.
Aiden Markram clubbed the fastest tournament century in just 49 balls The previous record was held by Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien off 50 balls against England in Bengaluru in 2011.
Markram’s first 50 on Saturday came from 34 balls while he needed only 15 more deliveries to add the next 50.
Rassie van der Dussen (108) and Quinton de Kock (100) also hit centuries in the first World Cup match to feature three tons in the same innings.
Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka and captain Dasun Shanaka all then hit half-centuries but Sri Lanka’s reply was always going to be damage limitation.
“It was a perfect day for us with the bat. We had to work hard up front up against the swinging ball and then well into the middle overs,” said Van der Dussen. “Aiden Markram when he plays like that is incredible to watch.”
For Sri Lanka, the figures made for grim reading with two of their bowlers – Matheesha Pathirana (1-95) and Kasun Rajitha (1-90) – conceding more than 180 runs from 20 overs.
It was a remarkable display of big-hitting by a Proteas side who were skittled out for just 99 the last time they played at New Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium in October 2022.
De Kock, who is playing in his final 50-over World Cup, hit his 18th ODI century off 83 balls with 12 fours and three sixes.
De Kock put on 204 runs for the second wicket with Van der Dussen before being dismissed off the next ball he faced after reaching 100, top edging a delivery from Pathirana to Dhananjaya de Silva at mid-on.
Van der Dussen soon reached his fifth century in the format off 103 balls with 12 fours and three sixes.
The 34-year-old, playing in his 50th ODI, was out in the 38th over when Sadeera Samarawickrama took a catch on the long-on boundary.
De Kock and Van der Dussen came together at the fall of the first wicket when captain Temba Bavuma was trapped lbw by Dilshan Madushanka for just eight in the second over.
Markram gave Sri Lanka no respite, racing to his half-century from 34 balls before he and Heinrich Klaasen (32) took the Proteas past the 350 mark in the 44th over.
Markram’s century featured 14 fours and three sixes.
He plundered 18 off one over from Pathirana, the young, sling-action fast bowler hailed as the likely World Cup “X factor” 24 hours earlier by Sri Lanka coach Chris Silverwood.
Markram was eventually dismissed when he skied the ball to Rajitha in the deep off Madushanka.
David Miller cracked 39 runs off 21 balls with two sixes in the late overs to further deepen the misery for Sri Lanka.
Proteas fast bowler Marco Jansen took two early wickets, clean bowling Sri Lanka openers Pathum Nissanka (nought) and Kusal Perera (seven).
Mendis, who hit 158 against Afghanistan in a warm-up last week, briefly threatened hope for Sri Lanka.
The 28-year-old raced to a half-century off just 25 balls but his resistance ended when Klaasen held on to a catch off a 140km/h delivery from Kagiso Rabada.
Mendis made 76 with four boundaries and eight sixes while Asalanka hit 79 with eight fours and four sixes.
Shanaka also helped restore a degree of dignity with 68, the first time in 14 innings he had got past 25.
Photo: Surjeet Yadav/Getty Images