CAPE TOWN, Feb 4 (Reuters) – England must find a way to combat South Africa captain Quinton de Kock or they will face a series loss in their first outing since lifting the World Cup last July, seamer Chris Woakes said.
South Africa eased to a seven-wicket victory in the first One-Day International at Newlands on Tuesday, with a fine 107 from De Kock and an equally attractive 98 from Temba Bavuma.
De Kock appeared to play within himself as he reached his 15th ODI century and Woakes said England, who have rested their talisman Ben Stokes for this series, know the South Africa skipper often holds the key to their batting potential.
“I have bowled against him quite a bit and he is a world class player,” Woakes told reporters.
“With him being captain now as well, he has that side of the game where he wants to see them over the line and that might mean he plays even better.
“We have to find ways to get him out. I have been fortunate to play with him in the IPL, and I know we must figure out how we can stop him scoring runs. He is a big player for them.”
England went from 51 without loss to 108 for five, and eventually 258 for eight in their 50 overs, which set the home side a record score to chase down, something they managed with 14 balls to spare.
“It was a respectable total, probably not by any means a great score, but something to bowl at. If we took wickets at important times we could have put pressure on them.
“But that partnership between Temba and Quinton was pretty good and won them the game.”
Joe Denly top-scored for England with 87, but only Woakes (40) was able to add another score of some substance, and the regular fall of wickets knocked England off their rhythm.
“We were constantly rebuilding through the middle. Ideally you want two guys set to take those middle overs through to the back end. That gives you the platform for a good score. But we kept losing wickets.
“We have done some good stuff today, obviously we can do it better. It was by far not our best performance, but we can take some positives and put it right.”
The second match takes place in Durban on Friday, with the series finale in Johannesburg on Sunday. (Editing by Toby Davis)