De Kock's Proteas trounce England, start new ODI era in style

Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma embrace (Gallo)
Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma embrace (Gallo)

Cape Town - The Proteas were barely recognisable at Newlands on Tuesday, cruising to a 7-wicket victory in the first ODI against England with 2.2 overs to spare. 

SCOREBOARD: Proteas v England - 1st ODI

In Quinton de Kock's first game as full-time captain, the hosts were superior to the world champions in all departments - a welcome sign given the well-documented strife of their summer so far and everything that happened at the World Cup last year. 

The concerns around De Kock's leadership style, given his often simplified, care-free approach to all things cricket, have been a talking point ever since he was handed the captaincy. 

On Tuesday, though, he showed that when it comes to matters on the field, he is more than capable. It was the perfect start to the new era of South African ODI cricket and the path to the 2023 World Cup in India.  

The 27-year-old De Kock, in his 116th ODI for his country, first managed his bowlers perfectly to restrict England to 258/8 from their allotted 50 overs. 

Then with the bat, De Kock provided a familiar masterclass with 107 (113) as he shared a match-winning 173-run partnership with No 3 Temba Bavuma (98 off 103)

Bavuma, in just his third ODI, was a picture of assuredness and technical proficiency ... attributes that he has been accused of lacking on the Test stage. It was the ideal response from a man who, for a range of reasons, has been the topic of selection debate in South African cricket in recent months. 

It was easily one of Bavuma's best innings in Proteas colours. 

Tabraiz Shamsi (3/38 in 10) was South Africa's star with the ball, but he was ably supported by debutant Jon-Jon Smuts (1/43 in 10), who was used brilliantly by De Kock as his first-change bowler and the man to get the breakthrough after England had cruised to 51/0 after nine overs. 

Joe Denly's 87 (103) had given the visitors the opportunity to post something competitive, and by the time England were done the Proteas were left with the task of securing the highest-ever successful run chase Newlands had ever seen. 

Reeza Hendricks (6 off 14) failed to capitalise on his chance at the top of the order, but his dismissal brought Bavuma to the crease after seven overs and the vibrant Newlands crowd was in for something special.  

De Kock had spoken in the build-up to the match about how the added responsibility of captaincy might benefit his batting, and that absolutely proved to be the case. 

Patient in waiting for the boundary balls, Bavuma and De Kock showed an ability to rotate the strike with ease and, by the end, it was no longer a contest against an English attack that had turned pedestrian. 

It took just 148 balls for the pair to reach their 150-run partnership, and when De Kock brought up his 15th ODI ton off 106 balls shortly afterwards, Newlands and the Proteas dressing room rose together to celebrate an innings that this side so desperately needed. 

The skipper couldn't see his side through and was bowled by part-time spinner and England Test captain Joe Root while trying to hit another ball out of the park. 

Rassie van der Dussen (38* off 45) then joined the fray, but by then the focus was solely on Bavuma's efforts at a second ODI ton following his 113 on debut against Ireland back in 2016. 

It wasn't to be, and when a slippery delivery from Chris Jordan slipped through Bavuma's defences to trap him LBW just two runs short, a hush fell over Newlands. 

It didn't detract, however, from a knock that suggests Bavuma will have a massive part to play in Proteas white ball cricket moving forward.

Smuts (7* off 11) was there at the end with Van der Dussen to hit the winning runs.

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