Home Sport Cricket Proteas’ solid batting gives them big win over England in first ODI

Proteas’ solid batting gives them big win over England in first ODI

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Rassie van der Dussen’s 134 off 117 balls was the difference maker as South Africa beat England by 62 runs in the first One-Day International in Durham on Tuesday.

South Africa's Lungi Ngidi celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of England's Liam Livingston during the first One Day International at the Riverside cricket ground in Durham on Tuesday
South Africa’s Lungi Ngidi celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of England’s Liam Livingston during the first One Day International at the Riverside cricket ground in Durham on Tuesday. Picture: Oli Scarff, AFP

Cape Town — South Africa turned back the clock on Tuesday to trounce England by 62 runs with a performance based on old-school ODI values in the series-opener at Chester-le-Street in Durham.

All the talk leading into the one-day series centred on England’s bravado and their attacking batting unit that has seen the hosts dominate limited-overs cricket for the past five years.

But after coming up short against India last week, the world champions seemed to doubt their customary game plan as they appeared to be caught in two minds while trying to chase down South Africa’s impressive 333/5.

This was not the England under former captain Eoin Morgan that were crystal clear in how they played their cricket. Instead, this is a team learning to adapt under a new leadership regime of skipper Jos Buttler and coach Matthew Mott.

South Africa, meanwhile, may be in serious danger of not qualifying automatically for next year’s World Cup in India, but are developing a style that is synonymous with the Proteas.

And Rassie van der Dussen is the fulcrum around which it all turns. The right-hander may come under criticism for the way he starts in his innings in T20 cricket, but in the longer limited-overs format there’s no such issues.

His career-best 134, which came off only 117 balls (10×4), was an ODI masterclass.

Van der Dussen’s most valuable trait is his ability to assess the conditions quickly. On arguably the hottest day in Durham in decades, he knew that the pitch was dry and a touch on the slowish side which would make hitting through the line a challenge.

The Riverside outfield is also among the largest in England. Van der Dussen, therefore, hit the ball in unique areas, often utilising the reverse-sweep, and then ran like a whippet between the wickets.

It helped that he had Janneman Malan (57 off 77 balls, 5×4) and Aiden Markram (77 off 61 balls) were with him at the crease during the partnerships of 107 and 151 respectively as they too pushed hard each and every run.

The bowling unit followed suit with a clinical display. They too assessed the conditions, and adapted accordingly, and were backed up by the fielders – bar a simple drop catch by Lungi Ngidi on the fine-leg boundary.

Ngidi’s drop was not critical with the in-form Jonny Bairstow being trapped LBW for 63 by part-timer Aiden Markram shortly afterwards. Bairstow followed Jason Roy (43) to the dressing-room after the England’s openers had provided a solid platform with a 103-run opening stand.

South Africa, though, continued to chip away with Markram (2/25) also bringing England’s maverick Ben Stokes’ ODI career to a close when the all-rounder mis-timed a reverse sweep.

Although there was no final heroic act from Stokes in his final ODI, the Riverside crowd stood up in unison and applauded their favourite son all the way back to the changeroom.

England simply could not string together any significant partnerships from thereon with Joe Root playing a virtual lone hand to keep his team in the contest.

It should not be overlooked that Root (86 off 77 balls, 5×4, 2×6) was England’s highest-scorer as he possesses the skill — like Van der Dussen — to formulate a method to score runs on surfaces that do not necessarily favour free-flowing strokeplay.

Anrich Nortje (4/53) ensured there would be no way back for England after Tabraiz Shamsi’s strikes in the middle period with a three-wicket over — including Root’s scalp — at the death that closed out the game for the Proteas.

The ODI jamboree moves on to Old Trafford where the Proteas will be looking to close out their first-ever white-ball series win on England soil on Friday.

@ZaahierAdams

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