Following South Africa’s clean sweep on the opening two T20 matches of their Bangladesh tour, the visitors played the first of three ODIs on Friday. For Kagiso Rabada, the fresh-faced fast bowler, this was a record-breaking coming out party.
Barely 20 years of age and just off winning the U-19 World Cup, the Johannesburg-born Rabada was on another level Friday afternoon. Bangladesh won the toss and decided to bat first at the National Stadium in Dhaka, where the two prior T20 matches had been played earlier in the week.With Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn both out of the lineup, Rabada took the ball and never looked back. He bowled his first over with the Bangladesh sitting on 17-0 and threw a beauty of a yorker to dismiss Tamim Iqbal after 3.4 overs. On the next ball, Rabada got Liton Das to flick his shot right into Behardien’s hands. With the debutant facing the chance to take a hat trick, Rabada got Mahmudullah lbw on an absolute beauty of a toss. Hat-trick complete. Only the second bowler ever to pick up a hat-trick on his debut and just the third Protea ever to do so. Who would have thought the youngsters day was really just beginning. After his fifth over bowled, Rabada had all four of the hosts wickets while giving up a mere 14 runs in the process. The Highveld Lion would claim his fifth wicket when wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock caught Bengladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza following a high bouncing delivery and the home side were on 133/8. Rabada, completely locked in at this point, had turned the Bengali lineup into a mince meat pie. Kagiso’s final wicket came when he dismissed Jubair Hossain after just five runs on a well-controlled, speedy delivery. The hosts were all out on 160 thanks to the incredible display of fast bowling by Kagiso Rabada.
South Africa made easy work of the Bangladesh bowling attack needing just a 31.1 overs to chase down Bangladesh and win by 8 wickets. Another solid performance by Rilee Rossouw who scored 45 runs and Faf de Plessis, who put up 63. Rossouw might have been the story on another day, but for the opening ODI in Dhaka it was all Kagiso. His six wickets, three maidens, a hat-trick and just 16 runs off 8 overs put him into record books and surely a bit of future folklore.
Following his incredible performance, Rabada, with his million watt smile, was as humble as one could be, saying all the right things the fans and selectors want to hear. He noted, “every time you represent your country, you have the responsibility to make sure you fulfill your role. Every game, I am going to make sure I am ready and if I play, I am going to try to do well.” This is surely music to Protea fans ears as they hope Kagiso will represent the next generation of great South African fast bowlers.