A fine century from Heinrich Klaasen, the first of his ODI career, helped South Africa stun Australia in the first ODI in Paarl. The Proteas, thrashed in the T20 series, prevailed by 74 runs against Aaron Finch’s men at EuroLux Boland Park.
Here are our talking points from the game.
A maiden ODI century for Heinrich Klaasen: The Titans star has shown plenty of promise, but unfortunately not quite lived up to it after that knock vs India two years ago. However being dropped from South Africa’s World Cup squad seems to have given him a wake-up call, and he played a fine innings here at Boland Park.
Klaasen scored 123* from 114, the only top six batsman on either side to score at over a run a ball, and his 149 run partnership with David Miller was a Proteas record for the fifth wicket against Australia.
De Kock fails, but South Africa win: Since the retirement of AB de Villiers, South Africa’s batting has been fragile and appeared to be overtly dependent on Quinton de Kock. When he fires, they stand a chance of winning, but when he doesn’t, the Proteas crumble like a pack of cards, as it happened in the two sub 100 scores in the T20’s against Australia.
De Kock made only 15 here and South Africa were staring down the barrel at 48/3 in the 11th over, but Miller and Klaasen, both often criticised for their inconsistency in this format, managed to repair the innings with a 149 run stand. Both showed great maturity and ensured that the Proteas played out their full 50 overs.
The depth in South Africa’s batting used to be a matter of pride for them. It’s not been so in recent years, and this innings from Miller and Klaasen would’ve brought a smile to many a Proteas fan.
ODI debut to forget for Janneman Malan, but a happy one for Verreynne on Leap Day: The Cobras star created an unwanted record here in Paarl, becoming the first player to be dismissed off the first ball of the game on ODI debut. He got a fast, fiery, swinging yorker from Mitch Starc first up that very few would’ve been able to survive. Frustratingly for Malan, Starc struggled to reproduce that swing afterwards.
While Malan became the holder of an unwanted record, it was a pretty good debut for Cobras teammate Verreynne. He took three outfield catches- a record for a Proteas player on debut, and his 48 (64) was key to steadying the Proteas innings after Australia had picked up three wickets early in the innings. Has probably done enough to warrant a longer stint in the jersey.
The four balls that wrecked Australia’s chase: At 174/3 in the 35th over, with Steve Smith well settled and the power hitting of Carey and Short still to come, Australia would’ve certainly fancied their chances of pulling this off. However their chase was wrecked in the space of four balls, with Mitch Marsh falling to Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje accounting for Smith. 174/3 became 174/5, and the Aussies never quite recovered from that blow.
Two spinner strategy works for Proteas: On a slow, sluggish performance, the Proteas played two spinners while Australia went in with only one. It came off perfectly- both Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi were excellent and ensured the hosts controlled the middle stages. Will they play two spinners in India as well?
South Africa 291/7 beat Australia 217 all out (45.1)