Aiden Markram smashed a 49-ball hundred, the fastest in the history of men’s 50-overs World Cup cricket, as South Africa racked up a tournament record total of 428-5 against a listless Sri Lanka on Saturday.
Three of South Africa’s top four batters, Quinton de Kock (100) and Rassie van der Dussen (108) being the other two, made rapid hundreds. But both were overshadowed by Markram’s 106 off 54 balls.
The 29-year-old eclipsed Ireland batter Kevin O’Brien’s 50-ball century against England in a 2011 World Cup match.
Put in to bat, South Africa lost skipper Temba Bavuma in the second over, but de Kock and van der Dussen forged a rollicking 204-run stand to deflate Sri Lanka.
Even after the duo exited, Markram kept punishing Sri Lanka, hitting 14 fours and three sixes in his blistering knock.
Australia’s 417-6 against Afghanistan in Perth in 2015 was the previous highest total in the men’s World Cup.
Sri Lanka arrived with a depleted bowling unit having lost the services of fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera and spin all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga through injuries.
Spinner Maheesh Theekshana missed the match as he continues to recover from a hamstring tear, and the South African top order exposed their bowling frailties with scintillating power-hitting.
David Miller remained unbeaten on 39 off 21 balls.
“Perfect day with bat,” van der Dussen said at the innings break.
“We just bat according to conditions, as we did today… Markram, Miller are the best hitters and they showed it today.”