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SA vs IND, 1st ODI, Paarl talking points: Bavuma, Van der Dussen lead hosts to a win

After winning the Test series, hosts South Africa now lead the ODI series 1-0. Led by centuries from Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen, the hosts set India a target of 297 to win. A half-century each from Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Shardul Thakur was not enough as India fell 31 runs short of the target. The middle-order comprising Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and debutant Venkatesh Iyer collectively scored just 35 runs which eventually cost India the game. Let’s look at the major talking points from the game.

Two centurions for South Africa

The hosts got off to a shaky start as openers Quinton de Kock and Janneman Malan scored insignificant knocks of 27 and six each. But a ton each from Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen took them to a competitive first innings total. The South Africa skipper scored 110 off 143, during which he found the boundary eight times. Rassie van der Dussen joined Bavuma when South Africa were 68 for 3 in the 18th over, and remained unbeaten on 129 off just 96 balls that was laced with nine boundaries and four maximums. The two shared a partnership of 204 runs in just 183 balls, thereby becoming only the second pair of South Africa batsmen to register a partnership of more than 200 runs in an ODI match against India.  The previous South African duo to do the same was the pair of Herschelle Gibbs and Gary Kirsten in Kochi in 2000. Bavuma and van der Dussen’s partnership is now also the highest for the fourth wicket for South Africa in an ODI against the Men in Blue.

Jasprit Bumrah stands out with the ball

Jasprit Bumrah was India’s best bowler on the day, picking two wickets in his 10 overs at an economy rate of 4.80. His first victim was Malan in the fourth over, followed by Bavuma in the 48th over. Quite interestingly, Malan’s wicket was Bumrah’s first wicket inside the powerplay overs in two years and seven months. The last time the pace bowler removed a batsman in an ODI inside the first six overs was in 2019 when Martin Guptill was sent back in in the semi-final of the World Cup. The pace spearhead played nine games between the 2019 World Cup semi-final and the opening ODI in South Africa in 2022, picking up six wickets.

Shikhar Dhawan grabs the comeback opportunity with both hands

Shikhar Dhawan, once one of the best opening batsmen for India, had not played in India colours since the tour of Sri Lanka in July 2021. He has also been left out of the T20I for a long time now, despite churning out good performances in the Indian Premier League for the Delhi Capitals. But an injury to India’s new white-ball skipper Rohit Sharma made way for Dhawan in the team for the on-going ODI series, and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. The southpaw hit a knock of 79 runs that was laced with 10 boundaries. This is his 34th half-century in the 50-over format.

Virat Kohli breaks Sachin Tendulkar’s record

The former India captain went past Sachin Tendulkar’s tally of most runs in away ODIs for India during his knock of 51 runs. Tendulkar scored 5065 runs in 147 innings while Kohli went past him in only 104 innings. Kohli is followed by MS Dhoni (4520 runs in 124 innings), Rahul Dravid (3998 runs in 110 innings) and Sourav Ganguly (3468 runs in 105 innings).

Kohli has an impressive record against South Africa in ODIs. The right-hander has scored 1287 in 27 matches at an average of 64.35, which includes four centuries and six fifties. His scores in his last seven ODIs in South Africa are 112, 46*, 160*, 75, 36, 129*, 51, while his scores in his last six ODI outings are 89, 63, 56, 66, 7, 51.

Shardul Thakur the batsman delivers again

Shardul Thakur, who was known only for his bowling in the start of his career before being known as a bowling all-rounder, has been proving his mettle with the bat in all formats of the game. Here’s a quick fact – the fast bowler has a fifty in Australia, two fifties in England and now a fifty in South Africa too. Coming in to bat at number 7, Thakur remained unbeaten on 50, but with not much support from the lower middle order and the tail-enders, his fifty came in a losing cause. This is the Palghar-born cricketer’s first half-century in ODIs.

A superior bowling performance from South Africa

While 297 was never going to be an easy chase, the Proteas bowlers ensured that India didn’t get over the line despite the 92-run partnership between Dhawan and Kohli and a fifty by Thakur. Apart from these three batters, the remaining line-up scored only 72 runs combined. Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi and Andile Phehlukwayo picked up two wickets each, while Keshav Maharaj and Aiden Markram shared two wickets between them.

Two players make their ODI debut

For South Africa, Marco Jansen played his first ODI game while for India, Venkatesh Iyer made his foray into the 50-over format. Jansen was rewarded an ODI debut after putting up a match-winning performance in the recently-concluded Test series against India, where he picked up 19 wickets in three games. On ODI debut, however, the left arm pacer failed to pick up a wicket.

Venkatesh Iyer, one of the best batsmen of IPL 2021, was handed a T20I debut in India’s series against New Zealand at home in November last year. Although he wasn’t at his best that series, Iyer was handed an ODI debut against South Africa, which wasn’t a memorable one either as he perished for just two runs.

Virat Kohli’s first match as non-captain in over five years

Virat Kohli sent the cricket fraternity into a shock after announcing his retirement as the captain of India’s Test team last week. Kohli’s decision came after India lost the third Test and series to South Africa in Cape Town. Prior to that, he had relinquished his T20 captaincy and was removed as the ODI captain. The 32-year-old will now play all three formats of the game only as a player, with the opening ODI against the Proteas being his first game as a non-captain in more than five years.

In 2014, Kohli was appointed as India’s permanent Test captain after MS Dhoni chose to retire from the longest format of the game. He took over as India’s all-format captain in January 2017 after Dhoni stepped down from the position.

Also read: Lucknow and Ahmedabad rope in three players each ahead of IPL 2022 mega auctions

Umaima Saeed
A writer who primarily writes on cricket. As of 2021, she has covered cricket for more than a dozen publications.

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