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Proteas stand tall in Paarl heat with magnificent all-round display against India

Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma laid the platform for the Proteas’ win over India. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma laid the platform for the Proteas’ win over India. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Jan 19, 2022

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Paarl - Temba Bavuma had promised a new era in one-day cricket for the Proteas, but few could have expected it to go quite as well as it did here in the first ODI against India at Boland Park.

All the chat before the series opener had been about the Proteas' failure to win an ODI series since the resumption after the Covid-19 lockdown intermission and India's thumping series win here last time out.

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One game into this three-match series and its all long forgotten such was the dominance of South Africa's display here in the Winelands.

It was a performance that was inspired by captain Bavuma's perfectly-timed century - the second of his career - and a masterclass from Rassie van der Dussen that yielded 129 breathtaking runs from just 96 deliveries.

The duo shared a match-winning 204-run partnership for the fifth wicket that propelled the Proteas to an imposing 296/4. India could only manage 265/8 in response.

There may be sceptics that will nit pick at Bavuma utilizing 143 balls for his 110 at a strike-rate of 73, but under the circumstances it was just the innings that was called for when the Proteas had been reduced to 68/3 in the 18th over.

The home team were desperate for a partnership of substance after the loss of Janneman Malan (6), Quinton de Kock (27) and Aiden Markram (4).

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The skipper's game awareness came to the fore at this juncture as he provided the perfect foil for Van der Dussen.

It really is a pity that not more spectators are allowed at cricket grounds around South Africa for Van der Dussen delivered arguably the finest innings of his international career.

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Often criticised for the manner in which he starts his innings, Van der Dussen's walked to the crease with a refreshing sense of positive intent.

He was comfortable against both pace and spin and was devastating on anything over-pitched or short as he peppered the empty grass banks with four sixes. Van der Dussen also stroked a further nine boundaries.

The Highveld Lions pair showed that runs were able to accumulated on a slower than usual Boland Park surface and the Indian opening pair KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan certainly looked comfortable at the beginning of the run chase when they reached 46 without loss in just the ninth over.

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However, Bavuma's plan to open the bowling with Markram's off spin yielded dividends when the Indian captain Rahul gently edged behind to De Kock.

Dhawan (79 off 84 balls) and former captain Virat Kohli (51 off 63 balls) maintained the momentum for the visitors with a 92-run partnership for the second wicket, but their demise within three overs of each other to the spin of Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi respectively ended any realistic chance of the visitors hauling in the total.

South Africa continued to squeeze the Indian middle order through economic bowling and some neat glovework behind the stumps from De Kock, who completed a brilliant stumping to send his counterpart Rishabh Pant on his way, that they were even able to absorb a late onslaught from Shardul Thakur to close out a much-deserved victory.

Summarised scorecard:

South Africa: 296/4 (Van der Dussen 129*, Bavuma 110, Bumrah 2/58)

India: 265/8 (Dhawan 79, Kohli 50, Thakur 51*, Phehlukwayo 2/26, Shamsi 2/52)

South Africa won by 31 runs

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