“South Africa’s record can be broken at this World Cup”

by MMC
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South Africa’s Aiden Markram is confidently hoping that his century record, as well as his team’s all-time best tournament total, will be broken before the end of this World Cup.

Markram smashed a 49-ball century as the South Africans piled up 428 to defeat Sri Lanka by 102 runs in their opening match at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Saturday.

Markram, 29, who went on to reach 106, broke the previous record for the fastest World Cup century, won by Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien off 50 balls against England in Bengaluru in 2011.

South Africa surpassed the previous World Cup record of 417 made by Australia against Afghanistan in Perth in 2015.

Their 428-5 was also the ninth highest total of any one-day international.

“The way batters play these days, you wouldn’t be surprised if this record is broken in this competition as well,” said Markram who ended his innings with 14 fours and three sixes.

“There’s kind of a see-ball-hit-ball mentality. We’re grateful to have had a wicket there tonight.”

Markram’s first fifty on Saturday came from 34 balls while he needed just 15 more deliveries to add the next fifty.

Rassie van der Dussen (108) and Quinton de Kock (100) also hit centuries in the first World Cup match to feature three tons in the same innings.

“It was good for us to be able to step up a gear as a unit,” Markram added after his third ODI century.

“I think a lot of the credit goes to Rassie and Quinny for creating this platform. It’s always hard work up front.”

He added: “It’s quite strange because you almost have this thing taking over your body at certain times.

“I think there’s a lot of passion in this team to give it our all at this World Cup and see where it can take us. We’re known for starting off quite slowly.”

Sri Lanka, to its credit, also put its foot on the accelerator for much of its response.

Kusal Mendis (76), Charith Asalanka (79) and skipper Dasun Shanaka (68) all hit fine half-centuries in a total of 326.

At one point, Sri Lanka looked strong at 109-2 in the 13th over.

“If we hadn’t lost those few wickets in the middle, I think we would have had a chance to get close to their score or even win the match,” said Sri Lankan batsman Sadeera Samarawickrama.

Sri Lanka will face Pakistan on Tuesday in Hyderabad while South Africa will take on five-time champions Australia in Lucknow on Thursday.

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