Proteas seal ODI series victory over Dutch thanks to Markram and Magala masterclasses
South Africa beat Netherlands by 146 runs on Sunday’s ‘Pink Day’ to all but seal their spot in the 50-over World Cup in India later this year.
Aiden Markram and Sisanda Magala both reached career-best batting and bowling feats respectively to guide the Proteas to a 146-run victory over the Netherlands at the Wanderers on Sunday.
Markram struck a scintillating 175 off 126 deliveries to help South Africa to a mammoth 370 for eight while Magala picked up five scalps for 43 runs in nine overs to help bowl the Dutch out for 224 runs in 39.1 overs.
The win on the “Pink Day” at the Wanderers means South Africa moves to eighth place on the World Cup Super League standings and bar Ireland whitewashing Bangladesh in a three-match One Day International series in May, will qualify directly for the 50-over World Cup in India in October this year.
Playing in his 50th ODI, Markram struck his first career century in the format with a delightful drive through the covers off offspinner Aryan Dutt.
“At some stage you have to repay the faith put in you,” Markram said after his sparkling innings.
The talismanic batter brought up his 100 off only 86 deliveries before he showed off all the shots in his repertoire by hitting an elegant, lofted cover drive for six and then a reverse sweep behind square for four off consecutive deliveries. Markram struck 17 fours and seven sixes in the emphatic knock.
Markram secured the player of the series award after his unbeaten half-century in the first ODI on Friday helped him to 226 runs in the two-match series.
The stylish century by Markram is the tied sixth-highest score by a South African in the format with Herschelle Gibbs’ iconic 175 off 111 balls in the historic 438 match against Australia in 2006.
“I watched that game when I was young, it was a great innings. To be able to score the same amount of runs as [Gibbs] in a game is relieving and a great moment for me,” said Markram about the 438 game, after the clash against the Dutch.
Markram shared a 199-run 118-delivery fifth wicket stand with David Miller who helped accelerate the run rate in the middle overs with his 61-ball 91, his 22nd ODI half-century. Miller smashed four sixes and six fours.
South Africa looked on target to reach 400 with the two clean hitters at the crease but after Markram and Miller fell in consecutive overs – Miller dismissed with the score on 347 at the start of the 47th over – South Africa’s tail struggled to land bat on ball.
The target of 370 was always going to be steep for a Dutch side that has never crossed the 300-run mark against South Africa.
Although the Netherlands did get off to a better start than the Proteas, who lost both their openers in the powerplay earlier in the day.
Young Vikramjit Singh, who looked impressive in the first ODI in Benoni – scoring 45 off 52 deliveries – was the first to depart on this occasion, clean bowled by Marco Jansen for 21 off 18 balls.
First drop Musa Ahmad and opener Max O’Dowd then put on a team-high partnership of 85 runs off 87 deliveries to take the Dutch to 100.
O’Dowd eventually saw his stumps rattled after dragging on a Magala delivery for a solid 47 off 49 balls.
Ahmad was peppered by a string of short balls by Proteas speedster Anrich Nortje, one of which hit him flush in the ribcage. Ahmad battled through courageously, however, reaching his first career half-century.
Ahmad took out some frustration on Tabraiz Shamsi who he spanked for three big sixes over midwicket.
Skipper Temba Bavuma consequently turned to the part-time spin of Markram, who seemingly could do no wrong as picked up Ahmad’s wicket for 61 off 69 deliveries off only his fifth delivery of the day.
Lungi Ngidi chipped in with the wicket of Tom Cooper (two off five) before Magala got rid of South African-born Wesley Barresi (29 off 36).
Markram got his second wicket, that of Dutch skipper Scott Edwards, LBW after an enterprising innings of 42 off 33 with the 217 for six after 36 overs.
The very next over Magala decided it was time to wrap the game up with his death bowling.
The 37th over was a double-wicket maiden, Magala dislodging both Shariz Ahmad and Paul van Meekeren’s stumps.
In his following over, Fred Klaassen’s stumps went flying to secure Magala his maiden ODI five-wicket haul.
Player of the match Magala’s last two overs went for one run while he picked up three wickets.
“If he’s got backing then he’ll break his back for you, that’s how he approaches things. I think he’s felt that backing,” said Markram about Magala, who is also his teammate at the Sunrisers Eastern Cape in the SA20.
“It’s great for him to have these achievements that he’s getting, especially through the bit of history that he’s had in this environment.
“The guys love him, he’s great value in the change room and when he does well, every guy in the team is over the moon for him.” DM