The Proteas celebrate at the end of their game against Ireland, which they won by 70 runs on Friday. Photo: @OfficialCSA/Twitter
The Proteas celebrate at the end of their game against Ireland, which they won by 70 runs on Friday. Photo: @OfficialCSA/Twitter

Janneman Malan stakes claim as Proteas level series against Ireland in Malahide

By Zaahier Adams Time of article published Jul 16, 2021

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CAPE TOWN – Janneman Malan emphasised his fierce determination to force his way into the first-choice Proteas ODI starting XI with a career-best 177 not out that enabled South Africa to share the three-match series with Ireland at Malahide on Friday.

Malan's stunning knock, which featured 16 fours and six sixes, along with the returning Quinton de Kock's 120 ensured the Proteas would not stumble again after Tuesday's debacle. The opening pair put on 225 in 36.1 overs for the first wicket that set South Africa on their path to a 70-run victory.

Set a daunting 347 to achieve their first series win over a major nation Ireland's chase never quite got out of the starting blocks due to some innovative captaincy from Temba Bavuma.

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Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj (2/51) was handed the new ball and the wily tweaker dismissed both Paul Sterling and the in-form Andrew Bilbarnie within the first five overs in identical fashion.

Maharaj deceived both right-handers by slowing the pace of the ball through the air before it gripped off the surface to turn just enough to find the outside edge of their bats. And unlike in the previous matches where South Africa put down their early chances behind the wicket, Malan, who was enjoying a lovely day in the glorious Irish sun, took both catches comfortably on this occasion.

Ireland never recovered from the double setback and from hereon the result was inevitable, despite a brilliant rearguard effort from centurion Simi Singh (100*, 91 balls, 14x4) and former South Africa U19 all-rounder Curtis Campher (54, 5x4, 1x6).

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Proteas debutant Lizaad Williams joined in the festivities by taking a wicket with his first ball in ODI cricket before Andile Phehlukwayo attempted to bowl himself back into form with three wickets too. Tabraiz Shamsi finished up the job with 3/46.

But they would certainly have appreciated being able to do their work without any pressure due to the buffer Malan and De Kock provided earlier.

De Kock, in particular, was in a belligerent mood upon his return to the team after being rested from the first couple of matches of the series. The classy left-hander started his innings in imposing fashion with a casual drive through the covers before showing the full face of the bat to an over-pitched delivery from Mark Adair.

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There was no stopping De Kock from that moment as he unleashed his full attacking arsenal being particularly severe on left-arm spinner George Dockrell, with one over yielding 20 runs. In the process De Kock (120, 91 balls, 11x4, 5x6) joined an elite club of wicket-keepers to pass 10 000 international runs.

Malan was initially content to watch his senior partner flay the Irish attack around, but came into his own once De Kock was splendidly caught on the mid-wicket boundary.

There is still some concern about Malan's game against high-quality spin, but he is certainly assured against the pacemen. The way he creates room to bludgeon the ball through the off-side is an exquisite sight, while the 24-year-old is equally adept at going straight down the ground both aerially and on the carpet.

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Malan was awarded the Man of the Series award for his series tally of 261 runs – he stroked 84 in the second ODI too – and has certainly provided coach Mark Boucher and convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang sufficient food for thought that he should indeed be De Kock’s long-term ODI opening partner in the future.

Third ODI

South Africa: 346/4 (Malan 177*, De Kock 120, Van der Dussen 30, Little 2/53)

Ireland: 276 all out (Simi 100*, Campher 54, Shamsi 3/46, Phehlukwayo 3/56, Maharaj 2/51 )

South Africa win by 70 runs, tie the series at 1-1

@ZaahierAdams

IOL Sport

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