There was a thunderstorm in Centurion on Friday afternoon. But forget about lightning bolts for now; in this storm, Heinrich Klaasen’s flapping bat ensured that it rained sixes on SuperSportpark.
The 32-year-old batsman devastated the Aussie bowlers to smash 174 runs from just 83 deliveries. His innings included 26 boundaries and he effortlessly sent the ball into the air between the excited spectators.
He enjoyed a partnership of 222 runs from just 94 deliveries with David Miller for the fifth wicket, and the pair’s whirlwind willow-rattling performance saw the Proteas score 416/5 in their allotted 50 overs.
Needless to say, the winning target was beyond the Australians’ reach and the home side won the match by 164 runs to level the series.
Sunday’s fifth and final ODI against the Wanderers can therefore be compared to a final; A perfect opener for the upcoming World Cup cricket tournament in India.
But back to Klaasen.
He had bulging muscles on the front foot and he was strong on the back foot: The poor Aussie bowlers afterwards no longer knew where to bowl to him.
“I’m still trying to take everything in properly. It’s a very special day, but I honestly can’t remember much about the turn; I’ll have to watch the highlights,” said the Menlopark High School alumnus as he accepted his player of the match award.
According to Mitchell Marsh, there was not much he could do to stop the Klaasen runaway train. Sometimes you can just stand back and enjoy the fireworks display.
“I take my hat off to him and his turn. We would probably have been happy to restrict South Africa to 350 runs, but we just couldn’t get a breakthrough,” Australia’s captain said.
The South Africans particularly enjoyed the bowling of Adam Zampa and they scored 113 runs from his ten overs; just as much as Mick Lewis conceded in the 438 game on the Wanderers at the time.
South Africa scored 173 runs in the last ten overs of their innings – the most ever in an international one-day cricket match.
“Our initial target was to score 320 runs and then 380 runs. But when I batted with Dave, we knew that 400 runs was within our reach,” said Klaasen.
- Scorecard Summary:
South Africa 416/5 in 50 overs: Heinrich Klaasen 174, David Miller 82 and Josh Hazlewood 2/79.
Australia 252/10 in 34.5 overs: Alex Carey 99, Lungi Ngidi 4/51 and Kagiso Rabada 3/41.