Another De Kock century powers Proteas to successive Cricket World Cup victory
South Africa top the Cricket World Cup table after meting out two successive thrashings in their opening fixtures. This time, the vanquished side was Australia, who fell by 134 runs.
Quinton de Kock struck a majestic century — his second in succession — to help South Africa to a 134-run victory over Australia on Thursday in their second Cricket World Cup match.
The Proteas completely outplayed the Aussies with the bat, ball and in the field.
Having been sent in to bat at Ekana Sportz City in Lucknow, South Africa set an above-par total of 311 for seven on the back of De Kock’s 109 off 106 balls as well as Aiden Markram’s slick 56 off 44 deliveries.
Australia then fell apart with the bat, as South Africa’s tight and disciplined bowling saw the five-time champions dismissed for 177 in 40.5 overs.
“It was a close to perfect game for us with the bat,” Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma said after the clash.
“Maybe with the bat we could have finished a little bit better, but I think they really bowled well throughout their whole innings. At no point did the run rate really get out of control for them.”
It was the fourth consecutive one-day international match in which the Proteas triumphed over Australia, including their recent 3-2 come-from-behind win over the same opposition in South Africa last month.
South Africa now have two wins from their first two matches, having thumped Sri Lanka by 102 runs in their opening fixture — and sit at the summit of the table.
Although the knockout stages are still five weeks away, they need four wins from their next seven matches to all but secure their place in the semifinals — six round-robin wins were enough to secure third place on the table for England in the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
De Kock masterclass
Bavuma (35 off 55) and De Kock put on a bright 108-run opening wicket partnership before the former was dismissed by Glenn Maxwell, who picked up two wickets and conceded only 34 runs in his 10 overs.
Bavuma was dropped twice by the Aussies, who were uncharacteristically sloppy in the field, dropping six catches in their 50 overs.
While Bavuma looked scratchy in his stay at the crease, De Kock was fluent, bringing up a 51-ball half-century.
Despite the wickets of the skipper and Rassie van der Dussen (26 off 30) falling around him, De Kock kept the healthy run rate going. He brought up his 19th ODI century with a thunderous pull shot for six off Pat Cummins.
Maxwell got rid of De Kock after a bungled reverse sweep. Markram and Heinrich Klaasen (29 off 27) put on an excellent 66-run 50-ball fourth-wicket partnership and looked set to take the team past the 350-run mark.
But after the pair lost their wickets within an over of each other with more than five overs to go, South Africa stumbled to 311 for seven — their fifth consecutive score of 300 or more.
Batting conditions seemed to get more difficult under lights in the evening as opening bowlers Lungi Ngidi and Marco Jansen made the new ball talk.
The pair removed openers Mitchell Marsh (seven off 15) and David Warner (13 off 27) after building sustained pressure with tight lines from a swinging ball.
Kagiso Rabada didn’t let up on the pressure, dismissing the dangerous Steve Smith (19 off 16) before cleaning up Josh Inglis (five) with a brilliant outswinger.
Australia were staring down the barrel at 56 for four and that soon turned to 65 for five after Keshav Maharaj caught and bowled Maxwell (three off 17).
Rabada dismissed Marcus Stoinis rather controversially an over later. A tight ball to the batter’s body was caught down the legside by De Kock. It looked like it came off Stoinis’ left glove, which wasn’t making contact with his bat. Nonetheless, the third umpire sent Stoinis back to the dugout, caught behind.
Marnus Labuschagne (46 off 74) and Mitchell Starc (27 off 51) put on a decent 69-run seventh wicket partnership to help Australia to a somewhat respectable score.
But Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi and Jansen cleaned up the tail to ensure South Africa’s net run rate remains as healthy as possible as every bowler picked up at least one wicket. Rabada was the pick of the superb lot, picking up three wickets and conceding only 33 runs in eight overs.
“With the ball, the bowlers have been under some slack for a while,” Bavuma said.
“But I think looking at all the different phases, the powerplay, in the middle, as well as the death — it wasn’t really much of a death — but I think the guys really dominated that and showed their skills.”
South Africa’s next match is against Netherlands in Dharamshala next Tuesday. DM