Cape Town - Proteas white-ball captain Temba Bavuma has heaped praise on Sisanda Magala for his role in the exhilarating comeback win over world champions England in Bloemfontein on Friday evening.
Having posted 298/7, England were seemingly cruising to victory after openers Jason Roy and Dawid Malan posted 146 for the first wicket in 19.2 overs. And even after both their departures for 113 and 59 respectively, the visitors still looked well set with the target reduced to 77 runs off 99 balls with six wickets remaining.
But that’s when Magala (3/46) intervened. He had already accounted for the two earlier wickets, but now returned to break open the game by having Moeen Ali caught on the square-leg boundary.
From thereon, Anrich Nortje (4/62) took over the reins to dismiss England for 271, but the initial damage was done by Magala.
"The man of the match, that's where the game changed for us, got us some momentum, the guys after him rode the momentum," Bavuma said post-match.
"Magala was a threat, they haven't seen much of him. But I was expecting one of our bowlers to do something special."
Magala’s performance would have had extra significance for the Lions fast bowler. The 32-year-old has experienced a torrid period in terms of fitness, particularly his well-documented weight issues.
It has led to his omission from numerous national white-ball squads despite him being the leading wicket-taker in the domestic 1-Day Cup for the past couple of seasons.
But having finally made the 8 min 30 second mark, which is required to pass Cricket SA’s two-kilometre time trial, Magala was back in business and eligible to be recalled for this England series.
Upon returning to the side, he has certainly wasted no time in laying down a marker to push for a regular spot in the Proteas white-ball starting XI and has done so by simply executing the basics.
“I’m very happy considering the position we were in. To pull off that type of win was very good for us,” Magala said.
“Temba was trying to suss out the situation. I was first-change, it was what the situation needed. Bowl as straight as possible, hit the length, a few change-ups. Keep it simple. A bit two-paced, used the steepness. Worked out for us. Time for rest now!"
There is not much time to recuperate for Magala and the Proteas as they head straight back into battle against England on Sunday in the second ODI at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein.
It is an opportunity for the Proteas to achieve a first ODI series over England on home soil in eight years.
Full squads for 2nd ODI in Bloemfontein
South Africa squad
Temba Bavuma (c), Quinton de Kock, Heinrich Klaasen, Rassie van der Dussen, Keshav Maharaj, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Sisanda Magala, Janneman Malan, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Jos Buttler (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Dawid Malan. Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Phil Salt, Olly Stone, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes.
Start Time: 10am TV: SuperSport