In a thrilling ODI encounter against Australia on September 7th, Temba Bavuma etched his name into South African cricket history. The Proteas’ captain achieved a remarkable feat by scoring an unbeaten century and simultaneously becoming the first South African captain to carry his bat through an entire innings.
South Africa faced a stern challenge after being put into bat by Australia in the first ODI of a five-match series, considered essential preparation for the upcoming World Cup. The conditions in Bloemfontein were tricky, with a two-paced pitch and unpredictable bounce. As wickets fell around him, Bavuma displayed remarkable determination, standing tall when his team needed him the most.
Bavuma’s exceptional innings of 114 not out took South Africa to a respectable total of 222, rescuing them from a precarious situation at 100-5. This incredible performance marked Bavuma’s third century in just seven innings in ODIs in 2023. His batting prowess this year is evident in his astonishing average of 106.8 and a strike rate of 105.1 in ODIs, making him a standout performer with more than 500 runs.
The early stages of the innings saw his opening partner, Quinton de Kock, struggle to find his rhythm against Australia’s disciplined bowling. De Kock managed only 11 runs from 31 balls before falling victim to the relentless bowling attack.
Subsequent wickets fell in quick succession, including Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, and David Miller. Despite the batting collapse, Bavuma’s resilience shone through, and he was joined by Marco Jansen, who contributed 32 runs and provided valuable support.
From the depths of 157-6, it was the Bavuma show all the way. The captain displayed exceptional skills while batting alongside the lower order. Although the last four batters added just five runs, Bavuma expertly navigated the situation and guided South Africa to a total of 222.
In the end, Lungi Ngidi was the final wicket to fall, nicking behind to give Josh Hazlewood his third wicket. Marcus Stoinis claimed two wickets, while Kyle Abbott, Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa, and Cameron Green each took one.
Bavuma’s impressive innings elevated his ODI career average to 57.45, ranking him fifth among players with 27 or more ODIs and making him the second highest among South Africans, trailing only Rassie van der Dussen’s remarkable 58.83.
Temba Bavuma’s incredible century and record-breaking achievement have left a lasting mark on South African cricket, solidifying his status as one of the nation’s cricketing treasures.