Cape Town — Rassie van der Dussen’s fourth ODI century helped set up South Africa’s 298/7 in the first One-Day International against England at the Manguang Oval in Bloemfontein on Friday.
Van der Dussen struck 111 off 117 balls (6x4, 1x6) that ensured the South African bowlers would have a competitive target to defend.
The classy right-hander walked to the crease after a positive opening stand between Quinton de Kock and captain Temba Bavuma.
The 61-run partnership in just 8.4 overs saw a reversal of roles with skipper Bavuma being the aggressor. Despite not playing since the Australian Test due being overlooked for the Betway SA20, Bavuma struck the ball sweetly during his 36 off just 28 balls, which included four boundaries and a six.
But just when Bavuma seemed set to take the game away from the world champions early on, he gave it all away with a mistimed hoick that was unable to clear Sam Curran at mid-on off Moeen Ali.
It was a similar miscalculation that led to his dismissal against Australia’s Nathan Lyon in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne when he was equally well set.
De Kock was more subdued during his 37 off 41 balls (5x4, 1x6) and seemed to be setting up his stall to play the anchor role in South Africa’s innings, but he too gave it away by feathering a catch behind off Curran bouncer.
A rebuilding process was required after the loss of two wickets between Van der Dussen and Aiden Markram, but the latter perished for 13 when he struck Olly Stone straight to Dawid Malan at cover.
Van der Dussen, though, remained the constant throughout the innings and maintained the momentum by building solid partnerships. Initially, it was with Heinrich Klaasen (30 off 32 balls) as the pair added 55 for the fourth wicket.
But the defining partnership followed with David Miller (53 off 56 balls) as the pair added 110 that inched South Africa close to the 300-run mark.
Unfortunately for the hosts, they lost Van der Dussen at a critical period of the innings with 16 balls still remaining.
To England’s credit, their bowling unit stuck to their task throughout with Curran finishing with 3/35, while all the bowlers picked up at least one wicket bar David Willey.
Jofra Archer’s return to international cricket though after a lengthy absence was a rusty one with the fast bowler returning figures of 1/81.