The Proteas' ODI best: Opposites attract in this opening partnership
THE Proteas have not collectively triumphed in bringing home an elusive piece of ICC silverware, with particularly the World Cup trophy painfully eluding them since their historic introduction to global tournaments back in 1992.
However, in the years between these multi-national jamborees they have consistently dominated bilateral ODI series’ against all nations, including the mighty Australians. Throughout this period there have been individuals that have thrilled spectators with their skill, flair and innovation – elevating global standards and setting new trends that the rest would follow.
ZAAHIER ADAMS has the arduous task of choosing “the best ever” to don the green Proteas ODI jumper. He starts right at the top with a dynamic opening partnership that ironically spent their best years admiring each other’s class from the non-striker’s end.
Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock
What is it they say about opposites attracting? Well, it would be a strain to find two more contrasting personalities than Amla and De Kock, but yet they compliment each other like peanut butter and jam.
There are some like former captain Graeme Smith (6 989 runs at 38.19) and Gary Kirsten (6 798 at 40.95) that threaten to break up this matrimony, but the pair are simply inseparable.
Individually, their records are untouchable. Amla boasts 8 113 runs at 49.46 – not too shabby for someone that was initially branded a “red-ball specialist” and had to wait four years for an ODI cap after his Test debut.
The Mighty # raised his bat for 25 centuries and 52 fifties, which won him the race to be the fastest batsman ever to post 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000 and 7000 ODI runs. Only India maestro Virat Kohli pipped Amla to the 8000-run landmark.
Amla’s unique skill was his ability to pepper the off-side boundary consistently during the Powerplay overs by hitting bowlers off their line and lengths without any undue risk. And when the bowlers attempted to adjust, there he was ready and waiting to deftly tuck it off his legs. His manipulation of the field was a fine art.
De Kock is more savage in style. Armed with a butcher’s blade, he carves anything square of the wicket while tearing into the short stuff. Equally, South Africa’s newly-appointed white-ball captain does not hesitate to launch anything over-pitched straight back over the bowler’s head.
Still only 27, De Kock has already tallied up 5 135 runs at 44.65 with 15 centuries and 25 half-centuries to his credit.
Collectively, they strode to the crease together 95 times and accumulated 4300 runs at an average of 46.73. There has simply been nobody better, with the duo rubber stamping their dominance with a record 282-run stand to wipe Bangladesh by 10 wickets in 2017.