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Cricket update: South Africa set a huge target


South Africa batsmen sent a lacklustre Indian bowling attack on a leatherhunt piling up a massive 358 for four riding on opener Quibnton de Kock’s…
KockJohannesburg: South Africa batsmen sent a lacklustre Indian bowling attack on a leatherhunt piling up a massive 358 for four riding on opener Quibnton de Kock’s century and significant contributions from skipper AB de Villiers and senior pro JP Duminy.

Young de Kock batted splendidly upfront scoring a 121-ball-135 studded with 18 fours and three sixes as he added 152 runs for the opening stand with Hashim Amla, who scored a patient 65.

The foundation laid by de Kock helped De Villiers and Duminy to launch a furious assault on the Indian attack as 135 runs were scored of the last 10 overs of the innings.

De Villiers smashed his way to a 47-bal-77 that had six fours and four sixes while Duminy clobbered five sixes in his 29-ball-54 that also had a couple of boundaries. The duo added a whopping 105 runs in 7.4 overs to take the total beyond 350-run mark.

The Indians lost control from the start of the final 10 overs as Ravindra Jadeja (0/58 in 8 overs) leaked 17 runs.

The inexperience of new ball bowlers Mohit Sharma (0/82 in 10 overs) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0/68 in 9 overs) was evident as the South African batsmen played them with consummate ease.

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s decision to bowl first didn’t work as per plan as two young swing bowlers struggled to adapt to the nippy, windy conditions and find the right line or length, as Amla and de Kock sped away from the blocks.

There was a flurry of boundaries from their bats as the duo hit seven fours and one six in the first nine overs. That one six was hit by Amla off Bhuvneshwar Kumar, a huge hit into the electronic score-board and at the end of the ninth over, the two batsmen had put on 53 runs at an encouraging run-rate of 5.88.

Kumar particularly was struggling with his control, conceding 29 runs in his first five overs. Mohit bowled his first six overs for 28 runs, and he was unlucky not to account for both batsmen. In the seventh over of the innings, de Kock sliced him straight down to third man when Shami was adjudged to have grounded the ball. The very next ball, a top-edge from Amla did not carry to Rohit Sharma at cover.

It was only when India’s most successful bowler Shami (3/68 in 10 overs) was introduced into the attack that the two batsmen came under some pressure due to his extra pace.

Spin was introduced in the 15th over, as Ravichandran Ashwin came on to bowl. Dhoni started juggling his bowlers in search for a wicket, going back to Kumar and then bringing on Jadeja in the 18th over. The barrage of fours continued to flow from the bats of Amla and de Kock, as South Africa crossed the 100-run mark in the 22nd over.

On either side of that milestone, both batsmen completed their half-centuries. de Kock was the first to get there, off only 54 balls, with eight fours. Amla reached his fifty off 73 balls, hitting four fours and one six. Both batsmen made steady progress thereafter, settling down as Indian bowlers struggled to find their rhythm in alien conditions.

Shami finally broke the partnership when Amla was gone dragging one onto his stumps. He was out for 65 runs off 88 balls, with five fours and one six.

Shami also got rid of Jacques Kallis (10) in the 33rd over, and the double jolt meant that only 32 runs came off the batting Powerplay.

At the other end, de Kock continued his run-scoring spree and hit a huge six off Mohit Sharma in the 33rd over. That took him to 98 runs and four balls later he celebrated his second ODI hundred with a simple single to square leg.

The 20-year-old didn’t stop there, hitting two more sixes as well as three fours to record his highest ODI score of 135 runs. He was the third batsman dismissed in the 42nd over, a loose drive looping back to Virat Kohli (1-15).

De Villiers was the relatively silent batsman in this 75-run partnership that came up in just nine overs. After de Kock’s dismissal, he was joined at the crease by JP Duminy and together they put the Indian attack to the sword in the final overs.

Their 50-run partnership came off only 27 balls, bringing up the 300-run mark in the 47th over.


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