Temba Bavuma congratulated the selectors for showing faith in his ability to open the batting after he became only the second South African to score a century on debut. However, he has suggested he will continue to view himself as a middle-order batsman for the time being.

Bavuma deputised for Hashim Amla, who missed the match against Ireland while waiting for his wife to give birth, and put on a record opening stand at Benoni with Quinton de Kock. He eventually fell for 113 - only his second List A hundred - to help set up a big win.

"I think the credit must go to the selectors and the administrators," Bavuma joked in a television interview at the innings break."They decided I should fill in this role for this game and it's worked out."

This was the second time Bavuma has been used in the role, after opening in a Test match in Delhi last year and on both occasions he responded to the challenge well. So well that it could become an option for him to consider in future, no matter how much he does not think it's the place for him at either national or franchise level at the moment.

"Hashim is the incumbent. He is well established and I am sure he will be back to fill those boots," Bavuma said. "And at the Lions, I probably won't go to Geoff [Toyana] and ask to open. I think it will be disruptive. The Lions have Stephen Cook and Reeza Hendricks so for me to look for a place there will cause more harm than good."

But Bavuma may be underplaying his chances of getting another go at the top. One could come as soon as next Friday if Amla's third child does not arrive before then. Other opportunities could present themselves, especially after Russell Domingo, South Africa's coach, confirmed he believes Bavuma has both the technique and the temperament to open the batting.

It may not have looked so at first, when Bavuma's footwork was questionable and he seemed to be absorbing too many dot balls, but he learnt quickly thanks to his partner de Kock. "I was able to perform the way I performed because of the way Quinny plays. Up front he makes any wicket look flat," Bavuma said. "He can score runs at will so it allowed me to take a bit more time and settle the nerves."

After de Kock got off to a flier, and found boundaries off both the front and back foot, Bavuma did the same. By the time the pair were in the 40s, Bavuma's strike rate had caught up with de Kock's and his strokeplay was just as eye-catching.

Bavuma drove the ball sweetly but also demonstrated a powerful pull shot, although he admitted to never feeling entirely comfortable at the crease. "Throughout the innings I didn't feel any kind of fluency. The wicket was a bit on the slower side and a bit two-paced, I struggled to hit through the line so I had to make sure I was strong in my game plans, ran hard and found the gaps," Bavuma said.

This summer, he wants to work on honing those skills a little more, even if it means doing it lower the down the order.

"At the start of the season I set myself goals to try and improve as a player and one of the areas was with the white ball," Bavuma said. "Your intensity must be higher. Even if you block the ball, you block it with the intent to score. At times I struggled with that today but I am generally a positive player and I look to put the bad balls away.

"I have always seen batting as just batting. Whether it's at No. 1 or No. 4, the ball is still the ball. At the Lions I will probably slot in in the middle and I will try and do things the way I normally do them."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent