Proteas draw first blood in ODI series as they trounce England by 7 wickets

After a drubbing in the Test series, the Proteas, led by new captain Quinton de Kock, drew first blood in emphatic style in the first of three one-day internationals in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Quinton de Kock scored 107 off 113 balls to lead the Proteas to victory against England in Cape Town. Credit: AFP

England 258/8 (50 overs) Denly 87, Shamsi 3/38
South Africa 259/3 (47.4 overs) De Kock 107, Bavuma 98
South Africa won by 7 wickets

South Africa's cricketing fortunes now rest in the hands of Quinton de Kock and his merry, young men in green and gold.

A new era of cricket began under De Kock's leadership on Tuesday when he assumed the captaincy of the Proteas one-day team. And it's an era that began with an emphatic statement of intent. They will not be bullied by the Cricket World Cup champions and they will not be outplayed in key moments of a game.

Instead, they took the fight to England, suffocated them in the field, by restricting them to 258 for 8 in 50 overs, before ramping up the pressure with the bat, allowing few if any chances to go England's way.

The Proteas captain led from the front, batting in his usual free-flowing manner, ably supported by Temba Bavuma who found in white-ball cricket the mettle he was searching for in red-ball cricket.

Together the two put on 173 runs in a match-winning second-wicket partnership.

De Kock finished on 107 off 113 balls. He was eventually bowled by Joe Root in the 36th over, but not before he took the game away from the visitors. Bavuma's innings ended two runs short of his second ODI century, but it was a superb 98 off 103 balls nonetheless.

There was early panic and a sense of deja vu when opener Reeza Hendricks went out cheaply for 6 with South Africa's score on 25.

But once De Kock and Bavuma occupied the crease they made the most of comfortable batting conditions on a friendly Newlands pitch, baked in searing heat.

South Africa had the upper hand with the ball for most of the day, but England finished strong with the bat, thanks mainly to Joe Denly who led the charge with a magnificent 87 off 103 balls.

England's openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow got off to a quick start, batting at over 5 runs per over. But after bringing up their 50 the visitors floundered.

Debutant Jon-Jon Smuts got the vital breakthrough and his maiden international wicket when he dismissed Roy for 32, caught by Reeza Hendricks in the deep.

Bairstow followed soon afterwards, caught by Lutho Sipamla off the bowling of Andile Phehlukwayo in the 11th over.

In the 16th over the game shifted in South Africa’s favour. A brilliant direct hit from Rassie van der Dussen at midwicket found Joe Root short of his ground on 17.

Three balls later Tabraiz Shamsi got the important wicket of Eoin Morgan for 11, excellently caught by Temba Bavuma in the slips.

At 83 for 4 England were in heaps of trouble. Debutant Tom Banton and Joe Denly put on 25, before Shamsi struck again, trapping Banton leg before, with England’s score on 108.

Sam Curran was next to go, bowled around his legs by that man Shamsi in the 28th over, as the Proteas picked up regular wickets.

Shamsi was the pick of the South African bowlers, taking 3 for 38 in his 10 overs.

England fought back well in the final overs of their innings. Denly and Chris Woakes put on 91 runs for the 7th wicket.

In reply, and under intense pressure to perform, the Proteas, led by De Kock, produced a match-winning performance with the bat - a rarity this summer against England.

With less than four runs per over needed in the latter stages of the run chase, Rassie van der Dussen and Smuts did the necessary in the end to reach the target and seal victory by seven wickets.