Proteas crush Aussies in Paarl
South Africa: 291 (Klaasen 123*, Miller 64, Verreynne 48, Cummins 3/45)
Australia: 217 all out (Smith 76, Labuschagne 41, Ngidi 3/30, Nortje 2/39)
South Africa won by 74 runs
Paarl – South Africa have won a match and for their next trick they plan to win a series.
Considering they have won the opening match of the series twice already this summer without being able to complete the job nothing will be taken for granted when they head off Bloemfontein for the second match on Wednesday.
But for now they will be content for putting in a complete performance for once. The 74–run victory over this powerful Australian side was as comprehensive as it was unexpected.
When ODI debutant Janneman Malan was dismissed first ball for a golden duck and captain Quinton de Kock also removed with the Proteas’ innings still in its formative stages, it certainly seemed that the home side’s faulty batting engine was struggling to start once more.
And when Temba Bavuma, who was actually playing nicely, chopped on to his stumps before the 10th over was completed, the Paarl faithful feared they may not even see their spanky new floodlights being switched on.
However, that brought another debutant Kyle Verreynne (48) and Heinrich Klaasen (123*) together at the crease. The ginger-haired duo consolidated the innings with a 78-run stand that kept the Australian bowlers and fielders in the searing Boland heat.
Although Verreynne fell to a pull shot just two runs short of a debut half-century when he gifted Pat Cummins his 100th ODI wicket, Klaasen was only getting started.
The Titans man was superb. He assessed the conditions quickly, ran hard firstly with Verreynne and again with David Miller before unleashing his full array of attacking strokes to raise his bat for his maiden ODI century.
The partnership with Miller killed off the Aussies. After holding the aces early on, the 149-run partnership for the fifth wicket boosted South Africa’s total to one that was possibly 30 runs above par.
With Miller (64 off 70 balls) looking to hit straight down the ground and Klaasen pouncing on anything short, particularly from Josh Hazlewood, the South African batsmen were finally in control of proceedings.
With the Proteas crying out for their experienced batsmen to guide the rookies for the team not to be solely dependent on De Kock, the way the pair combined in the middle-order would be a major positive moving forward as it allowed the hosts to post 291/7 that proved over enough on the night.
It certainly seemed that South Africa had done their homework after the T20 International series. Test spinner Keshav Maharaj was recalled to the ODI side after an 18-month absence and was straight away called on to open the bowling in the Powerplay.
That immediately closed the tap that had been leaking during the T20 series with Aaron Finch nor David Warner able to get Australia out of the starting blocks.
It also allowed Lungi Ngidi (3/30) to settle into his work when he was brought into the attack with the big fast bowler claiming three crucial wickets. Ngidi picked up both Australian openers and Mitch Marsh when he returned for his second spell.
Australia were always in the hunt when Steve Smith (76) was still at the crease, but his task became steeper with each wicket falling to the wrist-spin of Tabraiz Shamsi at the other end.
Shamsi, like Verreynne, knows this Boland Park wicket well having won the Mzansi Super League title with local team the Paarl Rocks here earlier this year, and showed his experience by tying up the Australian middle-order.
Ultimately, it became too much for Smith with Anrich Nortje trapping him LBW before the Proteas speedster closed out the match in rapid fashion to send the people of Boland home with an almighty smile.