Heinrich Klaasen’s maiden ODI century inspired South Africa to a 74-run victory over Australia in the first of three Momentum one day internationals at Eurolux Boland Park in Paarl on Saturday.
Man of the match Klaasen struck and unbeaten 123 from 114 deliveries with seven boundaries and three sixes as the Proteas posted a competitive 291 for seven after Quinton de Kock had won the toss and elected to bat first. In reply, Lungi Ngidi spearheaded the South African attack, claiming three for 30 as Australia were bowled out for 217 inside 46 overs.
Australia’s middle and lower-order propensity to mis-fire continued with only Steve Smith (77) and South African-born Manus Labuschagne (41) making any meaningful contribution with the bat. Captain Aaron Finch (10) and David Warner (25) did not get the visitors off to the start they are accustomed to, with Finch edging Ngidi behind to De Kock while Warner struck him straight to Kyle Verreynne in the covers.
Labuschagne and Smith then set about restoring some order to the chase with an 84-run stand for the third wicket off 108 deliveries but then Labuschagne launched Keshav Maharaj (10-0-48-1) down towards long-on where Ngidi claimed a good catch.
Mitchell Marsh (16) was cleaned up by Ngidi before Anrich Nortje (7.1-0-40-2) handed the Proteas the advantage when he bowled Smith. Tabraiz Shamsi (10-0-45-2) then had Alex Carey (5) caught at long-off by David Miller before having D’Arcy Short (18) stumped by De Kock, who then also ran out Mitchell Starc (5).
Verreynne then took a brilliant, diving catch off Andile Phehlukwayo (10-0-52-1) to have Pat Cummins (6) sauntering back to the pavilion before Nortje ended the match, disturbing Jash Hazlewood’s stumps for just a single.
But the day belonged to Klaasen, who played with class, guile and at times, brute force. Klaasen’s invaluable partnerships with the debutante Verreynne (48) and Miller (64) rescued the Proteas from peril after another debutante, Janneman Malan (0), De Kock (15) and Temba Bavuma (26) found themselves back in the hut with just 48 on the board.
Verreynne struck just two boundaries in his 64-ball innings but showed enough heart and guts to make his debut a happy one, to go along with the two catches and his stand of 78 off 105 balls with Klaasen gave the first innings more balance. With Verreynne looking to make a fifty on debut, he pulled Cummins (10-0-45-3) straight to Marsh fielding at square leg.
But Miller joined Klaasen and the pair turned the advantage to the home side, scoring 149 for the fifth wicket off only 131 balls. Miller struck four boundaries and a straight-drive six off Adam Zampa (10-0-48-0) before edging Cummins behind to Carey.
The Proteas will be hoping that they can take this heart-warming victory to Bloemfontein on Wednesday for the second match of the three-match series after having given up series leads in both short-ball formats against England recently.