Quinton de Kock scored a record-breaking 178 for the Proteas to thrash Australia by six wickets in Centurion.
De Kock looked set for South Africa’s first-ever double century at one stage before falling short on 178, but he did surpass Herschelle Gibbs’ record 175 against the Aussies in the famous 438 game in 2006, and fell just 10 runs short of Gary Kirsten’s record 188 against the UAE in 1997.
It was a massive statement from the Proteas, especially since they’ve battled for form in the 50-over game in recent times, following their early exit from the Tri-Nation series back in June. It gives them a massive psychological boost going into Sunday’s second ODI against the world No 1 side at the Wanderers.
His performance should take nothing away from what was a fantastic display with the ball from Andile Phehlukwayo, who, in just his second ODI, notched up figures of 4-44 to constantly peg back the Australia top order.
The Proteas won the toss and chose to have a bowl first, but it didn’t appear to bother the opening pair of David Warner and Aaron Finch too much, who blasted 42 in the Powerplay overs. Wayne Parnell found the breakthrough, Warner chipping one straight to short mid-wicket to end the 64-run stand.
That was when 20-year-old Phehlukwayo got involved, seeing off Finch and skipper Steve Smith in the same over, in what was a dream spell from the former U19 star. He accounted for his side’s fourth wicket, too, as Australia refused to change from top gear.
It was their strength in large chucks of the innings but it was also their downfall, as quick wickets continued to fall in the middle overs. They restored some parity however with a 79-run stand between George Bailey and John Hastings, with both notching up half-centuries.
Phehlukwayo again broke the partnership to bag his fourth wicket, and the tail collapsed from there as just 23 runs came off the final five overs for Australia to post 294-9.
The short boundaries and familiar surroundings were also going to benefit the hosts, but few expected quite the carnage that De Kock and Rilee Rossouw produced. The Proteas were rocked by the news that Hashim Amla was ruled out with flu just before the match started, but Rossouw proved a worthy replacement, as the inexperienced Australian bowling line up bowled severely lacked discipline.
Short ball after short ball was hammered to the fence as the pair raced to 87-0 after 10 overs. De Kock brought up his fifty off 39 balls, then Rossouw off 36, as they continued to plunder the boundaries. The 145-run stand was eventually broken as Rossouw tried to reverse sweep one off Adam Zampa’s first ball to go for 63, begging the question as to why spin was introduced so late on for Australia.
Not that De Kock was complaining, as he continued the wreckage. He brought up an 11th ODI century off just 74 balls, fittingly with a six, as it became clear that the Australians’ total was nowhere near enough with their depleted side. He put on a 123-run partnership with Faf du Plessis, but the stand-in skipper only contributed 26 of them, as De Kock waltzed past his previous best of 138.
A couple of quick wickets fell towards the end with the pressure off, including that of De Kock, but the damage was done. His 178, off 113 balls, included 11 sixes and 16 fours, as David Miller and Farhaan Behardien picked off the remaining runs with a massive 14 overs to spare.