Rassie van der Dussen and Anrich Nortje shined for South Africa, helping the visitors hand England a 62-run defeat in the first ODI of the three-match series at Riverside Ground on Tuesday.
South Africa put up a massive 333/5 on the board in the first innings. A century from van der Dussen (134) and half-centuries from Janneman Malan (57) and Aiden Markram (77) helped Proteas post an intimidating total. Liam Livingstone, a part-time spin bowler was the pick of the bowlers with his 2/30.
In chase of 334, England had a great start but after losing their top order, they started losing wickets more regularly. Contributions from Jason Roy (43), Jonny Bairstow (63) and Joe Root (86) laid the foundation for something big, but other batters could not carry forward with the momentum.
Nortje (4/53) ended the day as the best bowler for South Africa.
Electing to bat first, Proteas lost an early wicket after Quinton De Kock’s stumps were knocked out by a cutter from Sam Curran when he was at 19.Malan and van der Dussen brought back things in their side’s favour, stitching a stand of 109 runs. This stand ended with Malan falling to all-rounder Moeen Ali for 57 off 77 balls after being caught by Livingstone at deep midwicket.
The next batter to come at the crease was Markram. He and van der Dussen built an even more destructive stand and left the hosts searching for an answer for the next 20 overs or so. Markram brought up his fourth ODI 50 while his partner brought up his third ODI century.
It was Livingstone who sent the duo packing to the pavilion in quick succession, first Markram for 77 off 61 and then van der Dussen for a wonderful 134 off 117 balls.
Finally, the duo of Henrich Klassen (12) and David Miller (24*) stitched a 30-run stand to take the visitors to 333/5 in 50 overs.Livingstone was the pick of the bowlers for England with 2/30 while Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Brydon Carse took one wicket each.
Chasing 334, the duo of Roy and Bairstow put the hosts to a solid start. For 19 overs, South African bowlers struggled to find any good line and length to bowl at these two in-form batters.
It was skipper Keshav Maharaj who gave his side the breakthrough by dismissing Roy for 43 off 62 balls after being caught by David Miller who came running from the long-off.Bairstow followed his opening partner back to the pavilion shortly for 63 off 71 after being trapped leg before wicket by Aiden Markram. England were two down at 125.
Following this wicket, England started losing wickets at a regular interval, no big partnerships could develop for a while. Ben Stokes, who was playing his last ODI was dismissed for 5 by Markram. Jos Buttler (12), Liam Livingstone (10) and Moeen Ali (3) left without making any impact.England were suddenly reeling at 6/199.
Then it was Sam Curran and Joe Root who offered the hosts some hope, stitching a 53-run partnership, which ended with Root being dismissed for 86 by Nortje. England's hopes of winning the game were finally over with this dismissal. The rest of the batters could not put up a fight and the hosts were bundled out for 271 runs, falling 62-run short of a win.
Nortje was the leading bowler for the Proteas, taking 4/53. Spinner Tabraiz Shamsi and Aiden Markram took two wickets each. Maharaj and Lungi Ngidi took two wickets each.
South Africa 333/5 (Rassie van der Dussen 134, Aiden Markram 77, Liam Livingstone 2/30) won against England 271 in 46.5 overs (Joe Root 86, Jonny Bairstow 63, Anrich Nortje 4/53) by 62 runs.