Bloemfontein: Colin Ingram smashed an unbeaten century and seamer Rory Kleinveldt had a career best figures of 4 for 22 as South Africa defeated Pakistan by 125 runs in the 1st ODI of the five-match series on Sunday. Ingram's 105 off 104 balls was studded with 10 fours and formed the backbone of South Africa's total of 315 for 4. Pakistan's batting woes on the tour continued with Kleinveldt and Ryan McLaren (3 for 19) combining well to dismiss the visitors for 190 in 36.2 overs.
Pakistan's top-order batsmen had a miserable run when South Africa whitewashed them in the Test series 3-0 last month. That poor form continued with captain Misbah-ul-Haq top scoring with 38. Shahid Afridi hit a flamboyant 34 off 16 balls but his innings could only narrow the margin of defeat before he was the last man to be dismissed, giving Kleiveldt his fourth wicket.
"(It) really excites me to see the boys perform like that," South African captain AB de Villiers said. "We haven't played great ODI cricket of late. It has been worrying and frustrating. I know this is just one game, but it is a step in the right direction." Pakistan had a decent start when Nasir Jamshed and Mohammad Hafeez scored a run-a-ball 42. But once Kleinveldt had Jamshed caught in the slips off a delivery that swung away from the left-hander, Pakistan lost wickets at regular intervals.
Experienced batsman Younis Khan (30) and Misbah tried to resurrect the innings with a 49-run fourth wicket stand off 60 balls before debutante Kyle Abbott broke through in the 26th over and had Khan caught behind. Kleinveldt and McLaren then combined well and ran through the batting lineup as Pakistan's innings folded with 13.4 overs to spare. Earlier, after winning the toss Pakistan paid a heavy price for using four spinners and just two seamers at Chevrolet Park.
Ingram added a solid run-a-ball 120 with captain AB de Villiers (65) for the third wicket and propelled the total with a whirlwind 50-run stand with Farhaan Behardien (34) off just 23 deliveries at the end of the innings. Saeed Ajmal was the pick of the bowlers with 2-53, but Afridi had a less memorable performance as he played in his 350th ODI, returning figures of 0-60 as Ingram and Faf du Plessis (26) hammered the leg-spinner for five boundaries in one over.
Afridi, who was given a last chance by chief selector Iqbal Qasim who picked him for the ODI series as a specialist bowler, did his cause few favors with some unimpressive bowling. Ingram raised his century in the last over when he hit Umar Gul to the cover boundary for his ninth four of the innings as the left-hander had little trouble in facing either the two seamers or the four spinners.
Top ranked ODI batsman Hashim Amla (43) and former captain Graeme Smith (30) had earlier laid a solid foundation of 72 runs off 83 balls after Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and elected to field first. Pakistan surprisingly left out the 7-foot-1-inch Mohammad Irfan and packed its playing eleven with four spinners - a move that backfired on a flat batting pitch.
The two seamers, Gul and Junaid Khan, troubled Amla and Smith early on but once the batsmen settled in, they started to look comfortable. Amla was put down at point by a diving Mohammad Hafeez when he was on 15 before Ajmal struck in the 14th over when Smith mistimed a reverse-sweep and the ball flew back to wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal. "The way the ball was moving, 270-280 would have been a par score, Misbah said. "The way it was seaming in the start with the little bit of moisture, we should have exploited the conditions better. They kept the wickets for the first 10-15 overs, which was the key."
Amla mistimed a lofted shot off Hafeez and holed out in the deep before Ingram and de Villiers carved a century stand with some brisk running between the wickets. De Villiers raised his 30th ODI half century with an inside out boundary off Ajmal over extra cover before he departed in the 37th over while attempting a similar stroke and was caught at cover by Younis Khan.
Du Plessis and Ingram continued to score at a good tempo with a 62-run fourth wicket stand off 60 balls before Behardien gave the total impetus by hitting two sixes and three fours in his unbeaten knock from 14 balls. South Africa left out Morne Morkel, who according to team manager Dr. Mohammed Moosajee was still recovering from a left hamstring strain.
Abbott was given a place in the ODI side for the first time after a stunning test debut last month against Pakistan when he took man of the match honors with a nine-wicket haul. The second match of the series will be played at Centurion on Friday.
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