Many wouldn’t be aware of the fact that Heinrich Klaasen scored his 1st list A hundred against the India A when it toured South Africa in August last year. Few months the wicket-keeper batsman has again be one of the most influential players for the home side in the limited overs format. He played a match-winning knock of 43 in the 4th ODI against India, which included some massive hits of the bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal’s bowling, the only match where the Indian spinners were made to look ordinary.
However, Klaasen wasn’t done just yet as he played a brilliant match-winning knock of 69 runs in the 2nd T20 match at Centurion. The 26-year-old just took 30 balls for his innings, which included an astonishing 5 sixes and 2 fours of Yuzvendra Chahal’s bowling, the same bowler who he had smashed in the 4th ODI. Speaking in the post press conference, Klaasen spoke about his knock and his liking towards Chahal, who ended the ODI series with 16 wickets.
Less options against seamers, Klaasen targeted Chahal
“I fancy him [Chahal] quite a lot. It wasn’t planned. But the way the seamers bowled, the cutters, they’ve got very, very good skills as I have said before, I just fancied my chances more against the leggie, had more options against him, so when I got the first two boundaries, I thought this is the over [13th over] I got to target. Maybe if I can get 20-odd in this over,” Heinrich Klaasen explained post-South Africa’s 6-wicket win.
South Africa were struggling at 38/2 when Klaasen joined his captain JP Duminy in the middle. The veteran batsman played a very sensible knock from one end, while Klaasen let loose from the other. The wicket-keeper was full of praise for his captain and on how left-hander guided him through the initial few overs. As reported by Cricbuzz, Klaasen said, “He [Duminy] was the key factor to my whole innings. Second over or the first over I faced, he told me this over needs to go for 10. He told me to just play my normal game and take the bowlers on.”
The women’s T20 match between India and South Africa was abandoned a few hours before the men’s game, hence the fear of rain was constant during the 40 overs and there was even a light drizzle which lasted for the majority of the game. Speaking about the playing condition and the fear of losing the match based on DLS method, Klaasen said, “At the start, yes. I think credit must go to the umpires for keeping us out on the field. At some stage, it actually drizzled quite hard. The first five or six overs, we actually tried to keep up with Duckworth-Lewis. Luckily on the fifth or the sixth over, the drizzle stopped.
It’s small targets. I think the way we actually batted tonight, it’s a good way to chase a total. Keep up with the rate, keep up with Duckworth-Lewis. That just gave us small targets. When to go, when not to go. Maybe something to think about going forward.”
Klaasen found his way into the international team thanks to an injury sustained by team’s first choice keeper De Kock. The 26-year-old is aware that he will need to be consistent at the top level, if he going to keep his place in the starting XI once, De Kock returned.
“If you look at Quinny [Quinton de Kock], AB [de Villiers] and Faf [du Plessis] and with Temba [Bavuma] coming back as well. They are world class players. So, in some sort, to put my name in that list as well. It is definitely a very important stage of my career. But if this is my last game, the weekend one, so be it, I am happy with it. My dream is fulfilled. Now it becomes a job,” he concluded.
The two teams are on their way to Cape Town for the final game of this 2-month tour. After a massive disappointment in the ODI series, the Proteas will be looking to complete the turnaround and end the series on a high.