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1st ODI, Paarl: India let go of control as Proteas take lead

Considering the slowness of the Boland Park pitch and the amount of turn it offered, the 297-run target was a daunting one for the Men in Blue

Sayak Banerjee Published 20.01.22, 12:37 AM
The credit, for sure, goes to skipper Bavuma and Van der Dussen for their excellent knocks under pressure.

The credit, for sure, goes to skipper Bavuma and Van der Dussen for their excellent knocks under pressure. Twitter

Virat Kohli had an ideal opportunity to make a statement in his first appearance as just a senior cricketer of the team after seven years.

Though his last international hundred came over two years ago, his form in white-ball cricket was not quite a concern. In the first ODI at the picturesque Boland Park in Paarl on Wednesday, the former captain looked quite steady and seemed to be setting himself up for a big one after reaching his 63rd half-century in the format.

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But on 51, doing something uncharacteristic, Kohli tried to sweep left-arm wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi and perished at short mid-wicket. That triggered a collapse as India eventually lost the opening ODI by 31 runs. In reply to South Africa’s 296/4, riding on twin tons from captain Temba Bavuma (110) and Rassie van der Dussen (129 not out), India could only reach 265/8. That too, courtesy Shardul Thakur’s unbeaten 50. The unbroken 51-run ninth-wicket stand between Shardul and Jasprit Bumrah was actually India’s second best.

Considering the slowness of the Boland Park pitch and the amount of turn it offered, the 297-run target was a daunting one for India. But in spite of losing captain KL Rahul inside the Powerplay, India were well placed at 138/1 in the 26th over.

Shikhar Dhawan (79), in his first India appearance in almost six months, looked fluent enough, which did take a fair bit of pressure off Kohli. The duo rotated the strike well, while the occasional boundaries too were there to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Maharaj’s strike

Defending their total looked really tough for the Proteas, especially without their spearhead Kagiso Rabada. But making use of the turn on the wicket, left-arm orthodox Keshav Maharaj got one to spin just a little more that cleaned up Dhawan.

That blow from Maharaj to get rid of the dangerous-looking Dhawan seemed to have had an effect on Kohli too, as he was dismissed soon after. The task then was cut out for Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer, but both of them couldn’t last long.

Smart work down the leg side by glovesman Quinton de Kock led to Pant’s dismissal, after Shreyas was undone by a short ball from Lungi Ngidi.

Superb knocks

The credit, for sure, goes to skipper Bavuma and Van der Dussen for their excellent knocks under pressure, after the Proteas were wobbling at 68/3 in the 18th over.

Carrying forward the confidence gained from South Africa’s Test series win, the duo concentrated on running hard between the wickets while also improvising against India’s spinners, particularly Yuzvendra Chahal, who wasn’t allowed to settle down. Even Ravichandran Ashwin (1/53) couldn’t quite impress in his first ODI since June 2017.

Bavuma and Van der Dussen’s consistency in their scoring rate right from the halfway stage of their innings propelled South Africa towards 300.

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