Quinton de Kock’s last one-day cricket match was loaded with drama and excitement, but it is probably also one that he will not look back on with a satisfied smile.
Australia – who before that cloudy day in Kolkata had lost one game after another against South Africa – picked a rabbit out of the hat in a World Cup semi-final as usual and beat the Proteas by three wickets.
De Kock was taken out cheaply when he tried to chase runs early in the Protea innings, while he missed a difficult catch from Aiden Markram’s bowling late in the match.
He did pick a ball, which was hit very high into the sky, neatly out of the air to send Steve Smith back to the dressing room.
But if one looks at his World Cup statistics, it is clear that South Africa will miss the talented wicketkeeper in this format of the game.
In ten innings he scored 594 runs at an average of 59.40 and a strike rate of 107.02, while he also scored four centuries.
Behind the wickets, he caught or stumped 20 batsmen, while against Afghanistan he took six catches.
If the entire Protea eleven boasted De Kock’s level of play, they might have played in Sunday’s final.
The 30-year-old wicket-keeper announced his retirement from one-day cricket in the run-up to the cricket spectacle in India, presumably to pay more attention to the global target-and-tackle tournaments.
“It has always been a privilege to play with Quinny. We have been playing since we were o. 15 days of cricket together. He is an incredibly talented player and his absence will be a great loss for South African cricket – especially on the one-day cricket stage,” Temba Bavuma said shortly after the announcement.
“Quinton has a fantastic cricket brain: He can analyze the conditions very quickly and he finds a way to communicate it to us even before we have to go into bat,” said Aiden Markram when De Kock smashed 174 runs against Bangladesh.
“He adds a lot of value to the team and you should never clip the wings of a player of his quality; you just want to let him fly.”
And now, to the consternation of many South Africans, De Kock is flying in the opposite direction of the national one-day cricket team.