Sheer mayhem from Quinny the Slayer
Phehlukwayo shows great maturity and composure
NO AB. No Hash. No problem. There was Quinton de Kock.
In 142 minutes of sheer mayhem, De Kock surged past Herschelle Gibbs’ epic knock of 175 to register the highest score by a South African against Australia, and stomped all over an attack lacking genuine pace and ripe for the picking. ing-room about tackling what numerically was a big chase – especially in the absence of the Proteas’ two finest batsmen – then De Kock assuaged any such tension with a thunderous early assault.
He sustained that brilliance over the course of nearly two- and- half hours at the crease, and the crowd were in raptures.
The mercurial opener received excellent assistance from Amla’s replacement at the top of the order, Rilee Rossouw, who pounded the ball murderously on his way to 63 off just 45 balls.
The openers brought up the hundred in the 12th over but rather than coast, De Kock turned on the afterburners.
The ball was dispatched to all parts – including a couple of scary incidents, one involving umpire Joel Wilson when a straight drive from De Kock,
hit him on the arm, and then one of the 11 sixes struck by the left-hander hit a spectator on the head, who required medical assistance.
The Australians, who left Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood along with a number of other quicks at home, copped a battering. None of their bowlers had economy rates below seven and, regardless of where they bowled, De Kock simply slayed them.
The only question was whether he could break Gary Kirsten’s national ODI record of 188* against the UAE 20 years ago.
Sadly, he couldn’t but it hardly mattered; 142 minutes, 113 balls, 16x4 and 11x6 for 178 runs. The numbers are staggering, but it was a superb performance from De Kock. The Australian batting plan in the first half of the day was a simple one – swing hard and often. David Warner and Aaron Finch only know one way to bat and they set the tone against Dale Steyn, playing his first ODI since October last year, and Kagiso Rabada. The batting was brutal, the bowling inconsistent. The hosts didn’t want to appear too predictable, but perhaps that messed with their minds, particularly Rabada and Wayne Parnell, who conceded a combined 119 runs from 18 overs, sharing five wides. The short ball was injudiciously utilised and from Parnell, there were too many half- volleys while Rabada’s lines were wayward.
Thankfully for Faf du Plessis, who won the toss and chose to bowl, there was Phehlukwayo to provide some control and wrest the initiative away from an initially rampant Australian lineup.
The rookie played his part in the dismissal of Warner – moving neatly to his right to poach a catch in the covers to give Parnell his only wicket.
Phehlukwayo’s double strike in the 13th over gave the Proteas a way back into the innings.
He shook off the assault Finch dished out in his first over, when he conceded 16, to dismiss the opener in his next over with Parnell taking a fine diving catch at short fine- leg.
The big blow came three balls later when he trapped Australia’s captain Steve Smith in front lbw for just eight.
With the exception of George Bailey, who constructed a fine innings of 74, the remaining batsmen kept going hard, but only No 8 John Hastings contributed anything substantial.
Their seventh-wicket partnership gave the visitors a total that looked a good one.
Phehlukwayo, who added Mitchell Marsh to his tally of victims – thanks to a superb diving catch by De Kock – returned at the back of the innings, and the composure that was such a feature of his domestic play last season came to the fore in the biggest match of his career to date.
He managed to mix up lengths and pace with greater discipline than his teammates. The wicket of Hastings – caught on the long-off boundary for 51 – was important as he and Bailey were just setting themselves up for a late charge.
HEAR ME ROAR! Andile Phehlukwayo celebrates his dismissal of Steve Smith yesterday.