Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Fantastico Tons from De Kock and Amla help South Africa Chase 318

Twin centuries from the Protea openers ensured that South Africa chased down a stiff target of 319 at a canter at Centurion which also kept series alive after England had won the opening two games.

England won the toss and chose to bat first, they were playing an unchanged side. South Africa brought in David Wiese for Rilee Rossouw to give them more bowling options. After Roy was run out in the 6th over, going for a suicidal run, Alex Hales and Joe Root combined to play solid but effective cricket adding 125 runs for the second wicket. Hales was eventually dismissed by Rabada for a well-made 65 off just 73 balls, his 3rd 50 on the trot in the series. Buttler, the hero for England with the bat in the previous ODI's, was promoted again to take charge but this time he was out for a first ball duck, caught by Duminy at leg gully off Rabada. Morgan struggled for 24 balls to notch up just 8 runs and it seemed that England would fall well short of a defensible total.

Root was slow to start off with and he struggled to time the ball but he has such a wide range of strokes and his temperament is so unflappable that he still seems to be able to collect runs at a fair clip. He combined with Ben Stokes to blast 82 off around 9 overs, the assault ending when Root was run out. His straight drive smacking into the stumps at the non-strikers end and in the confusion that ensued, de Kock and Wiese managed to catch him well short of his crease. But by this time Root had brought up his 7th ODI ton hitting the gaps with finesse and his 125 off 113 balls was his highest ODI score.

Stokes made a brilliant 53 off just 37 balls but it was Abbott who tightened the screws on England in the slog overs after Root's departure giving away very little. England eventually scrambled to 318 courtesy a couple of sixes from number 9 and 10, for the Proteas Abbott and Rabada picked up two wickets each while Morkel and Wiese picked one each.

De Kock has been in Fantastico form hitting a century in tests against them and then this being his 2nd of this ODI series. He was in punishing form just as he was in Bloemfontein where he had smacked an unbeaten 138* off just 96 balls before rain had halted his charge, here he made 135 off 117 balls. Cover drives, powerful pull shots, sweeps - he showed his full repertoire of shots and all this when combined with his natural gift of timing made for a stunning spectacle. It was his 10th ODI hundred in just his 55th match.

Then there was his senior opening partner, Hashim Amla, who had failed in the first two matches and he returned to form with a graceful century of his own. He played all of his trade mark shots - the flick off the pads through mid-wicket, glorious cover drives and those wristy square cuts. He made 127 off 130 deliveries and by the time he got out in the 46th over the chase was well and truly dusted.

The South Africans chased the huge total at a canter with the help of Fantastico tons from their openers and kept the ODI series alive with the highest successful chase at Centurion.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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