The first match of the three-match ODI series took place at the New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg and the visitors made a stellar start to the series with a convincing eight-wicket triumph.
South African captain Aiden Markram won the toss and chose to bat first. South Africa crumbled, managing only 116 runs on the board as Arshdeep emerged as the standout performer, securing a brilliant five-wicket haul. Despite a missed opportunity to dismiss Reeza Hendricks on the very first ball, Arshdeep quickly turned the tide by dismissing Hendricks and Rassies van der Dussen in consecutive deliveries. Tony de Zorzi’s aggressive approach led to his downfall, and Heinrich Klaasen became Arshdeep’s fourth victim, reducing South Africa to 52/4 in 10 overs.
Avesh Khan joined the attack and further compounded South Africa’s struggles, finishing with figures of 4/ 27. The Indian bowlers capitalized on seam-friendly conditions, executing straightforward plans. The hosts’ situation deteriorated further as several poor shots contributed to their downfall. Andile Phehlukwayo provided some resistance, top-scoring with 33, but Arshdeep completed his maiden five-wicket haul by dismissing him in his final over. Kuldeep concluded the innings, and South Africa were bundled out for 116, marking their lowest ODI total at home.
Chasing the target of 117, India lost Ruturaj Gaikwad early. However, debutant classy left-handed batter Sai Sudharsan and experienced Shreyas Iyer showcased their prowess, stitching a brilliant 88-run partnership to take the team home and win the game by eight wickets, thereby taking a 1-0 lead in the series. Sudharsan scored an unbeaten 55, while Shreyas also contributed with 52 runs.
Top Performers of the Match
Sai Sudharsan (55 of 43): Debutant Sudharsan showcased amazing batting prowess and grit. Starting one’s career on South African pacy and bouncy pitches is no easy task, but he batted with great composure, scoring a brilliant fifty on debut. He emerged as the best batter of the match, smashing nine boundaries in his unbeaten knock of 55.
Arshdeep Singh (5/37, 10 overs): Despite concerns about his recent performance, Arshdeep showcased his prowess in the game and shook up the Proteas’ batting with an outstanding spell of fast bowling. Utilising the assistance for fast bowlers in the wickets, he claimed a brilliant five-wicket haul to become the Player of the Match.
Both teams are set to face each other in the second match of the ODI series at St George’s Park in Gqeberha on December 19.