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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Quinton de Kock applauds bowlers for being ‘on top of their game’ after Proteas crush Australia

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Quinton de Kock may have enjoyed a fruitful homecoming to Lucknow, but the Proteas wicketkeeper heaped praise on the bowling unit for rolling Australia in their Cup clash on Thursday.

De Kock plays for IPL franchise Lucknow Super Giants and thrilled his adopted home crowd with 106 off 109 balls – his second consecutive Cup century – at the Ekana International Cricket Stadium.

The 30-year-old’s heroics helped set up South Africa’s 311/7, forming a 108-run opening partnership with captain Temba Bavuma (35) before the in-form Aiden Markram also contributed another stylish 56 to set up the crushing 134-run victory.

There were also cameos from Rassie van der Dussen (26), Heinrich Klaasen (29), David Miller (17) and Marco Jansen (26) all the way through the Proteas batting line-up.

But De Kock believes it was the SA bowlers who deserve all the credit for reducing Australia to 70/6, before eventually dismissing the five-time champions for a paltry 177. New-ball pair Lungi Ngidi and Marco Jansen set the tone upfront as they relished the swinging conditions under lights.

They were superbly backed up by Kagiso Rabada, who tore through the Australian middle order with three scalps, including the crucial wicket of Steve Smith, before spinners Keshav Maharaj (2/30) and Tabraiz Shamsi (2/38) wrapped up proceedings.

“Seen from the Lucknow team, the wicket does change a bit, it gets harder at night and it did prove that.

“It was sweaty and humid.

“The bowlers were on top of their game – bowled with intensity, no real loose balls, didn’t give them a sniff upfront and picked up early wickets,” De Kock said.

Bavuma echoed De Kock’s sentiments. “We were clinical, with

Lungi taking the new ball and KG (Rabada) following up with intensity is what we’re looking for, and then the spinners,” Bavuma said.

“I’d be really greedy if I said there were areas to improve – a near-perfect game with the bat and ball. Looking at all the phases, the guys dominated and showed their skills.”

While De Kock was modest in describing his achievements, only stating that “We are pretty pleased with ourselves”, Bavuma was quick to point out the magnitude of his opening partner’s innings, especially in terms of combating Australian new-ball pair Mitchell Starc and

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Josh Hazlewood, and dealing with the conditions.

“I do think 311 was a couple over par, probably 290-300 was par. I guess I’m glad we lost the toss, because we wanted to chase as well. I was scratchy with the bat, found it hard – but Quinton needs to be given credit for the way he played,” Bavuma said.

“In our team, character is the biggest thing we’ve spoken about. You can’t overlook the good work we’ve done, let’s take the confidence and learnings. Let’s celebrate it and come back for the next one.”

The Proteas have five days to recuperate before their next clash against the Netherlands on Tuesday in Dharamsala.

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