‘He’ll go down as one of the legends’: De Kock bows out of ODIs
The South African opener had announced prior to the tournament that his campaign in India would be his last appearances for the Proteas in the format.
And De Kock’s ODI career ends at the semi-final stage after a superb individual effort throughout the tournament.
“He would have wanted to end things on a different note, but he'll remember the type of innings and fight we showed as a team,” South Africa’s captain Temba Bavuma said of De Kock after the semi-final loss to Australia.
“Us as players, we've enjoyed playing with him through all the years.
“In South Africa he will go down as one of the legends of the game.”
The 30-year-old’s tournament saw him score 594 runs in ten innings at an average of 59.40, with only Virat Kohli scoring more runs than De Kock.
Those impressive tournament numbers see De Kock end his ODI career (barring any future un-retirement) with hugely impressive stats.
Across his 155 ODIs the left-hander hit 6770 runs at an average of 45.74 and a strike rate of 96.64, setting the standard for South Africa and racking up 21 centuries.
Unfortunately for De Kock, his final appearance didn’t see the best of him out in the middle.
A phenomenal spell of new-ball bowling from Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc saw pressure build, particularly after Temba Bavuma departed for a duck at the end of the first over of the semi-final.
De Kock battling start came to an abrupt end when he tried to wrest back momentum and skied a catch off Hazlewood to end his ODI career with a 14-ball three.
And removing the left-hander was vital to Australia’s eventual success in the match, according to Australian quick Starc.
“We were able to build a lot of dot balls on them, which brings a shot like Quinton played,” Starc said.
“He's obviously been a big part of their World Cup and scoring runs, so to see the back of him early and get their middle order in, as I said, sooner rather than towards the back end where they can play with freedom was what we drew up.”
De Kock’s South Africa career is far from over however, with a T20 World Cup on the horizon in 2024.
Already South Africa’s record scorer in the shorter format, with 2277 runs in 79 innings at 32.52 and 137.33, De Kock could yet have the crowning moment that his career as one of the most impactful batters in the international game merits.