Quinton De Kock’s career-best performance in the first One-Day International (ODI) against England at the Mangaung Oval on Wednesday was an encouraging sign of the youngsters coming of age in the Proteas’ setup. Of the nine ODI centuries he has scored in his 53-match career, Wednesday evening’s was the first to be scored batting second, and in a high pressure chase, which he timed to perfection before the rain set in. This hundred followed his maiden Test century in the fourth Test against England at Centurion last week, where he marshalled the tail with maturity and calm temperament to help set up a big first innings total.
He has always played with freedom and aggression, which is his natural game, but has also found a measured approach to play the situation accordingly. De Kock, who also became the youngest (23 and 48 days) South African player to score 2 000 ODI runs says: ‘I enjoyed my innings. I haven’t scored a hundred like that in a while so it was nice to stay in. Unfortunately with the rain I couldn’t carry the team. I would have liked to have done that but I’m sure I will get plenty of more opportunities. It was touch and go but pushing to England’s side. We would have loved to have won but it was a steep total. We would have done our best to get there if the rain hadn’t come down.’ The 23-year-old waited nine matches to score his maiden ODI hundred, which came against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi 2013.
Thereafter, he scored four centuries in the next 10 ODI’s, including three in a row against India at home. Despite the struggles with form in the longer format earlier this season, he has managed to make significant contributions in the ODI format and has become a vital component of the opening partnership alongside Hashim Amla. The Proteas arrived in Port Elizabeth on Thursday afternoon, and will hope for a similar effort with the bat as they prepare for the second ODI taking place at St George’s Park on Saturday.
Conditions in the ‘windy city’ are unlikely to be as batting friendly as those in Bloemfontein, but the batsmen will take some confidence from their experiences in the first ODI.