On the hottest day in the nation’s history, England lost the opener of their three-match series against South Africa, saying goodbye to Ben Stokes in one-day international cricket. Despite considerable worries about player and crowd safety due to the high temperatures and the match’s completion without any major problems, there were reports of some fans complaining of heat exhaustion.
South Africa recorded their biggest ODI score in England and the second-highest at Chester-le-Street thanks to Rassie van der Dussen, who was the calmest player on the field and hit his third ODI century, a career-best 134. In response, England had to complete their sixth-highest run-chase triumph, but South Africa’s spinners, in particular, used a combination of restraint and aggression to secure a decisive victory. In 15 overs, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, and Aiden Markram combined for five for 120.
Despite the fact that this series is not worth World Cup Super League points, it marks the beginning of an important eight months for South Africa, which will feature trips to England and Australia as well as the T20 World Cup. Temba Bavuma, the team’s customary white-ball captain, was unable to lead them at the start due to an elbow injury sustained before the trip, but Maharaj’s judgment was impeccable from the moment he won the toss and decided to cover his fielders from the afternoon sun.
Despite the benign pitch and the absence of debutant Matthew Potts for the majority of their innings, South Africa made England’s attack work. Initially bowling four overs, Potts felt the effects of the heat and left the field. He later came back to bat at No. 11 in the order. With the exception of Sam Curran’s five-over session at the beginning, the remaining quicks typically bowled short periods, with the spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid putting in the longer toils.
None of them represented a serious threat to South Africa’s starting team, which although appearing to struggle at times, had more than enough. South Africa relied on the cumulative skill of Janneman Malan, who scored his fourth fifty in the format despite not hitting a single six, as he helped to a 109-run second-wicket stand with the embodiment of patience, van der Dussen.
Van der Dussen, who is not a great hitter, batted for just under three hours to compile an excellent hundred and set up a significant victory. He ran 57 singles, 15 doubles, and two triples. Van der Dussen participated in a record-setting third-wicket partnership of 151 runs for South Africa against England along with Markram, who scored his seventh fifty.
Although there didn’t seem to be a lot of fireworks in the South African innings, they faced the spinners head-on, made good use of the reverse sweep, and endured the pressure points. Malan’s dismissal caused England to slow down, and South Africa only scored 31 runs in the following six overs, but this gave Markram time to settle. When he did, he went after Liam Livingstone’s sixth bowling option and scored 21 runs off 15 of those balls.
Van van Dussen scored a century off 90 balls, which is his third century in 14 innings since April of last year and a run of 84.77 average. He is just the third South African player to do so in an ODI against England in that country. South Africa may have had their sights set on 350 or more as he led them into the final five overs, but England claimed three wickets during that time to leave South Africa on 333 for 5.
After Maharaj was slog-swept into the stands, Jason Roy hit the game’s first six runs, and England eventually concluded their Powerplay with 47 runs gained without losing. If Jonny Bairstow had not been dropped at the conclusion of the 10th over, South Africa would have been happy with the initial portion of their defence. He chipped Lungi Ngidi to Miller at mid-off while he was on 18, and Miller leaped but was unable to hang on.
Eight overs later, when Dwaine Pretorius was officially announced as his replacement, the match’s dynamics had significantly changed. When Bairstow reached fifty, Roy lofted Maharaj to long on, where he was caught by Miller. Then, Ngidi dropped Bairstow on 51 over, and Markram made sure the drop wasn’t too costly by hitting Bairstow flush on the knee roll to have him out lbw.
A standing ovation from the Riverside home crowd greeted Stokes’ entry into the middle of his final ODI innings following Bairstow’s dismissal. When he attempted to reverse-sweep a Markram delivery, he was struck on the front pad in line with the middle stump. He faced 11 balls, hit five singles, and then. Stokes considered doing a review but ultimately decided against it. As he turned to leave, Markram halted his celebrations to bid him farewell. Off 22 overs, England still needed to score 192 runs.
The extended lineup prevented England from thinking they were out of the game until Buttler inside-edged onto his pad to give Shamsi a return catch and Livingstone dragged Ngidi onto his stumps.
Joe Root batted by himself for the majority of the remaining innings, and his 53-run seventh-wicket stand with Curran just about kept the game intriguing before he all but ended it by deflecting a Nortje back-of-a-length delivery against his stumps. In order to complete with a four-for and dismiss England in 47 overs, Nortje claimed two more wickets in the subsequent over and one at the end.
Disclaimer: The insights expressed in this article are those of the author. This article was not written or edited by Empireweekly.com; it was published on July 20, 2022.