Paarl: Fighting centuries by Temba Bavuma (110 off 143) and Rassie van der Dussen (129 not out off 96) helped South Africa post a challenging 296/4 against India in the first ODI of the three-match series at Boland Park, here Wednesday.
The hosts were in a spot of bother at 68-3, but Bavuma and Dussen stitched a huge 204-run stand for the 4th wicket to bail out Proteas from a tricky situation and propelled them to a competitive total at the sluggish Paarl pitch.
After winning the toss and opting to bat first, South Africa didn’t have a great start as they lost the wicket of Janneman Malan (6) in the 5th over of the innings. Malan, whose feet stayed glued to the crease, played a loose shot, with the ball taking a faint edge and Rishabh Pant made no mistake behind the wickets.
Skipper Temba Bavuma then joined Quinton de Kock at the crease and they negotiated India’s new-ball bowlers, who were spot on with the line and length and also managed to get some movement in the air. The duo batted cautiously and took South Africa to 39-1 at the end of the first 10 overs.
With a partnership building, Rahul introduced R Ashwin into the attack. The spinner, playing his first ODI since June 2017, nearly struck in his first over but Shreyas Iyer dropped the catch. The ball was tossed up outside off from Ashwin and de Kock sliced it towards wide of point, where Iyer moved to his right and dropped the catch after getting both hands to it.
However, it was eventually Aswhin, who ended De Kock’s (27) struggle and gave India the second wicket of the day. The left hander went for the cut on a flatter delivery by Ashwin but he missed it and was bowled and his 39-run stand with Bavuma came to an end.
Thereafter, Aiden Markram, who came to bat next, played many dot deliveries and a desperate attempt to get off the strike cost him his wicket. He played a drive to mid-off, called for the run but he couldn’t make it as debutant Venkatesh Iyer smashed a direct hit on the stumps, leaving South Africa to 68-3 after 17.4 overs.
From there on, Rassie van der Dussen and Bavuma mixed caution with aggression and got their partnership going, taking Proteas to 118/3 at the half-way stage.
Bavuma, who came out with a positive approach and stayed patient during a tough phase, got off to his third ODI fifty off 76 balls and continued the rebuilding job with his partner.
KL Rahul made several bowling changes to break the stand but Proteas batters — Dussen and Bavuma played with great determination and brought up a wonderful 100-run stand in the 34th over of the innings. Soon, Dussen also completed his half-century to peg the visitors back and keep the scoreboard ticking.
An overthrow by an Indian fielder took South Africa past 200 in the 39th over as Proteas batters looked to put their foot on the accelerator. The momentum was completely in South Africa favour and carrying his brilliant form from the Test series, Bavuma reached his second century of his career off 133 balls in the 45th over.
With five overs to go, the pair of Dussen and Bavuma looked to put India under a lot of pressure as Dussen got to his century in just 83 balls. But the likes of Bhuvi and Bumrah pulled things back by using yorkers and slower deliveries perfectly and didn’t allow hosts to score freely.
The accuracy by Indian bowlers in the death overs brought them success as Bavuma finally got out to Bumrah in the 49th over of the innings. After playing a captain’s knock of 110 runs, Bavuma holed out to India skipper KL Rahul at long on and his mammoth 204-run stand for the 4th wicket with Dussen came to an end.
However, Dussen along with David Miller (2) hit a boundary and a six off Shardul Thakur in the last over and took hosts to 296/4 in 50 overs.
Brief scores: South Africa 296/4 in 50 overs (Rassie van der Dussen 129* off 96, Temba Bavuma 110 off 143; Jasprit Bumrah 2/48, Ravichandran Ashwin 1/53) vs India