Free of non-violence
De Kock dominated an inexperienced Australian attack in the series opener to make a mockery of what was a decent total - 294. As much as this innings was about big hitting, it was more about downright belligerence - his carefully trained eye spotted deliveries that were not pitched on perfect length or line, and though they were not necessarily terrible offerings, he made them look utterly inadequate.
There were easy pickings off the pads, and powerful pulls, so much so that more than two-thirds of his runs came on the leg side, including nine of his 11 sixes. The off side was not spared either, with slices through point and drives down the ground, but it was the freedom and fluency of his time in the middle that was more eye-catching than any individual shot. De Kock batted without care yet still calculated his risks. He was not afraid to hit high, trusting the altitude to carry the ball, or to hit hard, knowing that even if he offered a chance, it might not have stuck. Indeed, on 57, he gave backward square-leg an opportunity, but the shot was too fierce and the fielder could not hold on.
De Kock's fifty took only 38 balls and his hundred another 36 - he brought up both milestones with the pull. Like his century, de Kock got to his 150 with a six, and, for good measure, hit two more in succession, off legspinner Adam Zampa. At the end of that over, South Africa needed 41 runs to win from 20 overs and de Kock needed 34 runs to become South Africa's first 50-over double-centurion. But he was caught superbly on the boundary for 178, South Africa's second-highest one-day score.
When chasing a tall target, the opening passage of play is crucial, and de Kock set the tone when he smashed his sixth ball - a John Hastings delivery that was on his legs - over square leg for six, and followed up with a four through point to let Australia know that anything a fraction off line would be punished. His merciless hitting continued through the Powerplay, with deliveries on the pads or outside off dealt with harshly.
De Kock's fifty came up in the 12th over, and included seven fours and a six. At that stage South Africa were 94 without loss and scoring at more than eight runs an over. Their required run rate had been brought down to just over five.
2 The position held by de Kock's score on the list of highest individual totals by South Africans in ODIs. The 178 was three more than Herschelle Gibbs' 175 against Australia, and ten short of Gary Kirsten's 188 against UAE.
145 The opening stand between de Kock and Rilee Rossouw was the second-highest for South Africa against Australia in ODIs.
74 Number of balls de Kock took to get to his hundred. Among South Africans, only AB de Villiers and Mark Boucher have scored ODI hundreds off fewer balls.
What they said
"Ja, it was lekker. It was the most free knock that I've played. I've played other knocks, where I've had to work harder for runs, but it was just my day, I guess." - Quinton de Kock
"It felt like every ball was going to the boundary at one point. That was one hell of an innings." - Steven Smith
The closest contenders
David Miller, 118 not out v Australia, third ODI, Durban
Two games later, de Kock's team-mate, batting at No. 6, helped South Africa pull off the second-highest ODI chase and seal the series against Australia.
Alex Hales, 171 v Pakistan, third ODI, Nottingham
On his home ground, Hales made England's highest ODI individual score, and took the team to a world-record 444.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent