“It only happens once in a while.”
Kagiso Rabada was perhaps being a bit modest about him and Wayne Parnell’s destruction of the England top order in Monday’s seven-wicket win at Lord’s.
The Proteas’ opening bowling pair reduced the home side to 20/6 after just five overs.
HOW RABADA AND PARNELL DESTROYED ENGLAND
Over 0.5: Rabada keeps a ball teasingly outside off and opener Jason Roy takes the bait. It just moves away slightly and Hashim Amla has safe hands at slip.
Over 1.5: Beautiful delivery from Parnell. Full ball just outside off before it swings in late and traps Joe Root plumb in front.
Over 3.6: Parnell keeps it outside off to the left-handed Eoin Morgan, who’s deceived by a good length and a subtle hint of movement away.
Over 4.1: Frankly, the poorest delivery of Rabada’s wickets as Alex Hales tries to square drive a half-volley, only to edge to slip.
Over 4.5: Rabada exploits the attacking attitude of England’s batters by tempting Jos Buttler to hit through the covers. He also gets a thick edge to slip.
Over 4.6: Good length and a tempting line by Rabada as Adil Rashid also tries to drive and edges.
It was the first time in the history of ODI cricket that a team lost six wickets in such a short period of time.
“Yeah, it really doesn’t happen very often that the batters nick off like that,” said Rabada, who was superb in taking 4/39.
“I definitely didn’t expect that to happen.”
South Africa’s 22-year-old champion quick and an accurate Parnell exploited the cloudy conditions superbly as they gained a lot of swing.
But they were also helped by a spicy pitch, something that’s becoming increasingly rare early on in England’s cricket season.
Unsurprisingly, Rabada labelled the surface “quite a good pitch” though you suspect he’s being obviously biased.
“It felt like a Test match. The pitch was very green,” he said.
“It was competitive. However, as the ball got older, the batsmen started playing more strokes. There was nice bounce and carry. The crucial thing was to strike early. It stayed a good wicket, England focused on good lines and our batters were also cautious.”
What also had Rabada excited was the prospect of having more of these types of surfaces to bowl on later in the tour.
He had a month’s stint with English county side Kent last year but admits that didn’t really prepare him for what he would experience in this match.
“I got a taste but I can say this was my first real true experience,” said Rabada.
“We played a few four-day games but those pitches were really flat. This was a fuller, perhaps truer, experience.”