Proteas

Big guns Rabada and De Kock fire in pink as Proteas keep ODI series against Tigers alive

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Kagiso Rabada celebrates a wicket. (Photo by Christiaan KOTZE / AFP)
Kagiso Rabada celebrates a wicket. (Photo by Christiaan KOTZE / AFP)

While the majority of sporting teams still love talking up a quintessential "team effort", there's still a deep satisfaction to be found in their biggest personalities taking the lead in securing a victory, especially when the heat is on.

Before the Proteas assembled - cladded prettily in pink - for Sunday's second ODI against Bangladesh at the Wanderers, there was a genuine sense of wariness.

1-0 down and with the series on the line as well as the bigger picture of qualification for next year's World Cup becoming more complicated, South Africa could easily have faltered.

Instead, their two proverbial siege cannons in Kagiso Rabada and Quinton de Kock rolled in and obliterated any hope Bangladesh might've had of securing an early series triumph, leading the way towards a convincing 7-wicket victory.

Rabada, in particular, provided a stark reminder of what the Proteas will be missing in the upcoming Test series after spearheading a strange but effective bowling effort, harvesting a superb haul of 5/39 that meant the home side had to merely chase a target of 195.

SCORECARD | Proteas v Bangladesh, 2nd ODI

De Kock, who wasn't going to feature in the Tests anyway because of his earlier decision to retire from the format, then turned that pursuit into a stroll with a typically nonchalant 62 off just 41 deliveries.

It was Rabada who initially occupied centre stage following the Tigers' decision to bat first. 

Interestingly, it's only his second five-wicket haul in 84 matches in the 50-over format, his previous coming almost seven years back in an emphatic debut against selfsame Bangladesh, when he sensationally took 6/16, including a hat-trick.

Rabada exploited the two-paced nature of the surface in his first spell, interspersing his usual fire with a fuller length that worked a treat.

It gave him the vital wicket of Shakib Al Hasan in the third over, who spooned a flick to leg to cover, before his extra bounce accounted for Litton Das (15) and Yasir Ali.

Along with a steady Lungi Ngidi, he had the Tigers in huge strife, especially after Wayne Parnell benefited from that pressure in trapping Mushfiqur Rahim in front to leave them 34/5.

Moments later though, Parnell pulled up with a hamstring injury before he could complete his third over, robbing skipper Temba Bavuma of specialist options given that the South Africans only went into the match with five front-line bowlers.

And it had some consequences.

That meant he himself had to bowl just over six over to make up Parnell's quota while also not getting the best service out of his spinners.

Tabraiz Shamsi, back after a mildly controversial omission in the opening match in Centurion, was wily and economical in taking 1/26 from his 10, but Keshav Maharaj was surprisingly poor.

As a result, Bangladesh could steadily mount a recovery, first through Mahmudullah and Afif Hossain (72) and then Afif and Mehidy Hasan (38).

In fact, the latter pair illustrated once again that they are a combo for a crisis, adding a record 86 for the seventh wicket, less than a month after sensationally adding an unbeaten 174 to stump Afghanistan.

South Africa weren't helped in the field, where Janneman Malan dropped two regulation catches before atoning with two grabs later on.

In all honesty, they might've been a steeper target had Rabada not come back for his second spell, where he nabbed the key pair of Afif and Mehidy.

He was indeed a class above.

South Africas Quinton de Kock plays a shot during

                                                                 Quinton de Kock (AFP)

De Kock then proceeded to calm any sort of nerves by unleashing a typically stunning array of strokes, smashing sixes over cover and long-on as well as feasting on shorter deliveries with slicing square cuts and drives.

By the time he reached his half-century off just 26 balls in the 9th over, South Africa were so far ahead they would truly need a dramatic collapse to stumble.

Once Kyle Verreynne and Bavuma (37) overcame nervy starts, they flourished in a partnership of 82, with Verreynne arguably dashing any hope of Aiden Markram slotting into the 50-over side anytime soon with a fine, unbeaten 58.    

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