Adjudged the ‘Player of the Match’ after leading India to a facile win over the Proteas with his maiden five-for in ODIs, speedster Arshdeep Singh said skipper KL Rahul backed him to come back strongly following a dip in his bowling form in the preceding T20Is. The left-arm paceman revealed that the skipper told him to aim for a five-for after he claimed two prized scalps in the second over.

The 24-year-old speedster did his skipper proud as his five-star effort flattened the Proteas, with the visitors bundling them out for 116.

India made light work of the measly target, chasing it down comfortably with half-centuries from debutant Sai Sudarshan and Shreyas Iyer.

“Feel a little sore but loving the movement. I learnt about the altitude only after a few overs when I was running out of breath. Had to build on from there. (Last year to here) Personally, it feels good because when you play you have a dream to play for the country. I am enjoying my role and want to thank Rahul bhai as well. He said I should come back strongly and aim for a five-for. (how does this set you up for the next 2 games?) It is about enjoying the game. When we go to Gqeberha, we need to know what will work there and look for a good result there too,” Arshdeep said at the post-match presentation.

Winning the toss on what appeared to be a helpful surface for the bowlers, the Proteas skipper Aiden Markram opted to bat first.

However, the decision came back to haunt the hosts as the Indians, led by pacemen Arshdeep and Avesh Khan reigned terror on them.

Only De Zorzi (28 in 22 balls, with two fours and two sixes) and Phehlukwayo (33 in 49 balls, with three fours and two sixes) could come up with decent scores as the South Africans were bundled out inside 28 overs.

Arshdeep (5/37) and Avesh (4/27) were the pick of the bowlers for India as they combined to claim nine South African scalps. Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav claimed the final wicket to fall.

Chasing 117 to open the series on a winning note, India lost Ruturaj Gaikwad (5) early.

However, fifties from debutant Sai Sudarshan (55 in 43 balls, with nine fours) and Shreyas Iyer (52 in 45 balls, with six fours and a six) saw India canter to a win with more than 33 overs to spare.

Wiaan Mulder and Andile Phehlukwayo claimed the two Indian wickets to fall.

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