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Team India began the three-match ODI series in fine fashion with their biggest win against South Africa in the format (in terms of balls remaining) as they tracked down a paltry target of 117 within 16.4 overs after Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan ran riot with the ball in Johannesburg in the Pink ODI on Sunday, December 17. Shreyas Iyer and debutant Sai Sudharsan slammed fifties as the Men in Blue chased the total down without much difficulty to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

South Africa captain Aiden Markram decided to bat first looking at the surface, however, it proved to be a good toss to lose for India considering the lateral movement their young pacers Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan utilising it to the fullest. There was a bit of assistance and both the pacers, Arshdeep especially ran riot with the moving ball by removing the top four inside the powerplay.

Arshdeep first cleaned up Reeza Hendricks before trapping Rassie van Der Dussen LBW on the very next delivery. Tony de Zorzi tried his bit by going the aggressive route as he smashed a couple of sixes and as many boundaries before skying one up in the air for skipper KL Rahul to take it without much trouble. Soon Arshdeep accounted for danger man Heinrich Klaasen as the Proteas were four



down for 52.

After the powerplay, it was Avesh Khan's turn to inflict more misery on the Proteas. Avesh had three wickets including the big ones of skipper Aiden Markram and David Miller within 12 balls as South Africa were 58/7. Andile Phelukwayo strung little partnerships with Keshav Maharaj and Nandre Burger to take the Proteas to 116 before Arshdeep got his maiden five-wicket haul for India in international cricket and Kuldeep Yadav finished the innings.

The target was never going to be challenging for India and even though South Africa got an early wicket in the form of Ruturaj Gaikwad, debutant Sai Sudharsan and one of India's World Cup 2023 heroes Shreyas Iyer didn't let the hosts have a sniff.

The duo stitched an 88-run stand for the second wicket and both reached their half-centuries. Sai became only the fourth Indian opener to score 50-plus on ODI debut before Iyer fell in a bid to finish the game quickly. Sai then completed the formalities as India took a 1-0 lead in the series.

Iyer will now play a 3-day game in preparation for the Test series which might mean a debut for Rajat Patidar or Rinku Singh in the second ODI in Gqeberha on Tuesday, December 19 as India look to seal the series.
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