South Africa beat Sri Lanka by 102 runs as they finished with 428-5, the highest-ever total in the tournament’s history

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Aiden Markram says the wicket played well, the ball traveled, was an entertaining game. Nice to be on the right side of the result. Really happy with how it went tonight

Sri Lanka had won the toss and elected to bowl first while this was a day that belonged to the South African batsmen, particularly Markram, whose 54-ball 106 was a match-winning innings of aggression and control as they started their World Cup campaign with an impressive 102-run win over Sri Lanka in Delhi.

Sri Lanka had won the toss and elected to bowl first. This was a day that belonged to the South African batsmen, particularly Aiden Markram, whose 54-ball 106 was a match-winning innings of aggression and control.

He was so dominant that, in all honesty, it eclipsed the other two tonnes in the innings. This is quite the statement considering van der Dussen’s came off just 103 deliveries while de Kock’s came off 83. Without even mentioning the fact that the pair put on 204 for the second wicket, a stand that provided the platform for the devastation that followed.

It’s possible to argue that Temba Bavuma was caught by Dilshan Madushanka in front of the middle and leg with one that ducked in off a good length in the second over, which was only Sri Lanka’s earliest moment of comfort in the innings.

In that regard, the first 10 overs would have thrilled the Lankan team, who controlled the situation throughout that time by only allowing 48 runs. But despite Sri Lanka’s efforts to maintain tight lines and lengths, the duo of de Kock and van der Dussen grew.

Boundaries were never too difficult to come by during their 174-ball partnership since loose deliveries were handled effectively and even the good balls were frequently pushed away for singles. It was a partnership that expanded with little taking of risks.

After those relatively quiet first 10 overs, they would proceed to score at a rate of seven per over for the next 11 to 20 overs, then another 88 runs for the next 21 to 30 overs, 85 for the following batch of 10, and in the final 10 overs, 137 runs were scored to put the sharpest of exclamation points on an impeccably timed innings.

With just under 20 overs remaining, Markram came to the crease and immediately started destroying the Lankan attack.

He signaled his intent early with three boundaries, including two flawless straight drives off Madushanka, but he would reserve his most destructive shots for Matheesha Pathirana, who he would destroy in a brutal 26-run over near the end with three boundaries and a six. He scored his 50 in a relatively slow 34 deliveries, he would then take just a further 15 to reach his century.

Aside from the centurions, there were cameos that, on any other day, would have been worthy more than a footnote. David Miller berserked his way to a 21-ball 39, while Heinrich Klaasen scored a 20-ball 36. Heinrich Klaasen has been enjoying the kind of year most batters wouldn’t even dare to imagine. Even Marco Jansen, during his 12 off 7, helped himself to the maximum.

Kusal Mendis quickly made it to 76 from 42 balls to set the tone for the chase. Before any of his teammates had scored a run, Mendis reached his fifty in just 25 deliveries. Pathum Nissanka went out for a duck, and Kusal Perera remained scoreless as Mendis erupted.

Mendis would reach his fifty at the team total of 54, which is the lowest total at which any batter in men’s ODIs (where known) has reached his fifty. 

He would also smash eight sixers in the first ten overs (Sri Lanka hit nine in total), which ranks second in a men’s ODI innings (where we have ball-by-ball statistics), one behind the West Indies’ ten sixers in their first ten overs against England in 2019.

But after he collapsed, Sri Lanka’s already poor hopes grew even slimmer. The flame of hope was temporarily kept alive by the 50s from Charith Asalanka (79 off 65) and Dasun Shanaka (68 off 62), but the task was already clearly out of reach at that moment. 

The margin of defeat was then reduced by some late unexpected hitting by Kasun Rajitha, which may be crucial if net run rate is a factor in the competition’s later rounds.

Here’s a list of some of the key records:

  • The score of 428 for 5 by South Africa is the highest ever in a World Cup game and the highest at the Kotla.
  • Only four ODIs have seen three centurions from the same team, and this was one of them.
  • With his 49-ball century, Markram beat over Kevin O’Brien of Ireland to become the World Cup player with the fastest century ever.
  • The total of 107 boundaries over both innings is a World Cup game record.
  • This match’s total for a men’s ODI World Cup match broke the previous record of 714 runs set in Nottingham in 2019 between Australia and Bangladesh.

Temba Bavuma, the South Africa Captain:

“Happy. We wanted to win and did that. As a batter, nothing to find fault in. Asked for a clinical performance with the ball. Didn’t get that but individual performances were good. Probably a blessing in disguise that we lost the toss. The ball came onto the bat better when the lights came on. The point was to adjust to the conditions today. We had a certain perception, and thought it’d be a bit more variable but it didn’t. Probably didn’t adjust early enough, to their main batter being Mendis. Kesh took the pace off and was very good. Maybe need to add spin options; these are the learnings we have to take. The challenge would be adapting there again. Quinton will be fine didn’t field but will be fine.”

Dasun Shanka, the Sri Lanka Captain:

“I expected a high-scoring game. Rassie, Quinny, and Markram got great hundreds. We were missing lengths regularly, execution wasn’t good. When we play again, we need to change that. We expected to keep them to 350-370, we thought it’d be manageable given Asalanka and Mendis’ form but we couldn’t deal with the extra runs. Tough to manage things while missing three key bowlers. But you know that’s part of the game. I’m happy with the positive intent with the bat; the first ten overs with the ball were good too. Need to sharpen up for the next game.”

Aiden Markram:

“That it comes off some days, doesn’t on others. That’s fantastic today. I know what’s expected of me as a batter. We’re marrying being positive with being smart. Great how it’s coming together in the last 12 months. Initially, you want to get a feel for the wicket find out the options you can take, and then back it, regardless of the result, and try things out that may not be in your repertoire. Wicket played well, ball traveled, was an entertaining game. Nice to be on the right side of the result. Really happy with how it went tonight.”