Hashim Amla had scored two centuries for Kings XI Punjab in the recently concluded Indian Premier League. It looked as if he had carried the form from the T20 league to the one-day internationals. Against England in Leeds, Amla was at his supreme best. Eight fours. All beautiful shots. He had scored 73 runs off 75 balls. Then he missed a straight delivery from Mark Wood. Shuffling across the off-side, Amla was struck on the knee-roll. Umpire Rod Tucker said no to an England appeal but they went for the review and the decision was overturned.
South Africa lost Faf du Plessis in the next over. Liam Plunkett had him caught behind. South Africa had lost back-to-back wickets. After sharing a 112-run stand, both Amla and Du Plessis were back in the hut. South Africa needed a partnership but no batsmen could do it for them. In the end, they fell short of the 340-run target set by England by 73 runs and lost the first ODI.
England had posted a massive total of 339 for the loss of six wickets after a stunning century from captain Eoin Morgan. The England captain scored 107 runs and helped his team recover from 198 for the loss of five wickets and post 339 runs on the board.
Morgan was ably supported by all-rounder Moeen Ali, who took the attack to the South African bowlers during the death and scored unbeaten 77 runs off just 51 balls.
After winning the toss, South Africa asked England to bat. They struck early as Wayne Parnell removed Jason Roy early. But it was Hales and Root who steadied the innings. Hales was also caught behind but England had crossed the 100-run mark by then. Root was caught at the leg-side for 37 in front of his home crowd.
Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, two of England’s IPL stars, returned to their home country and in a different cricketing atmosphere but failed to excel. Stokes made only 25 while Buttler made seven.
Morgan and Moeen were the real show-stoppers for England as they shared a 117-run stand and before Morgan fell 14 balls before the close of innings, England had crossed the 300-run mark.
It did not look like they can win by a margin of 72 runs when South Africa were 145 for the loss of one wicket. Amla and Du Plessis in quick succession and later JP Duminy and David Miller threw away their wickets. De Villiers and later the lower order did try to make it a game but it was too late and the target was too big for them.