Despite losing unnecessary wickets, the Proteas secured a crushing six-wicket win in the first ODI against Australia in Perth on Sunday.
It was a match dominated in every department by the Proteas. Faf du Plessis won the toss and his ruthless bowling unit once again set up a comprehensive victory.
Despite Kagiso Rabada going wicketless, seamers Dale Steyn (2-18), Lungi Ngidi (2-26) and Andile Phehlukwayo (3-33) stepped up, while Imran Tahir (2-39) once again contributed with a tight spin-bowling performance.
Australia were all out for 152. Nathan Coulter-Nile was Australia’s best batsman with 34, while Alex Carey contributed with 33.
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Quinton de Kock opened the batting with Reeza Hendricks. De Kock led the attack early on and it took Hendricks nine balls to get off the mark, with a lucky edge over the slips. They scored 28 runs in five overs, Hendricks only contributing three before the break.
After lunch, the pair built a 94-run partnership. De Kock looked in fine form, having struck seven fours, but he was caught by Josh Hazlewood on 47 when he looked to clear the straight boundary. It was a disappointing end for De Kock who was in desperate need of a milestone.
Hendricks continued to play beautiful strokes, along with Aiden Markram, but they struggled to find the boundary rope due to the slow outfield. Markram did, however, manage three magnificent fours in the 21st over – two square-drives and a pull-shot off Hazlewood.
Hendricks, like De Kock, also fell short of his half-century when he was caught by Chris Lynn at mid-on off the bowling of Marcus Stoinis for a 74-ball 44.
Markram added the finishing touches with purpose but he unluckily lost his wicket on 36 off 32 balls (six fours) when he chased a wide delivery from Stoinis and dragged it on to his stumps. Klaasen scored two and nicked Stoinis to Aaron Finch at first slip.
David Miller hit the two runs needed to see out the victory with Du Plessis (10).
Australia innings – 152; Nathan Coulter-Nile 34 Alex Carrey 33; Andile Phehlukwayo 3-33, Dale Steyn 2-18
Proteas innings – 153-4; Quinton de Kock 47, Reeza Hendricks 44, Aiden Markram 36; Marcus Stoinis 3-16.
Photo: James Worsfold/Getty Images