by: Atika Mehboob TN Sport Pakistan:
Heinrich Klaasen showcased remarkable stamina and skill as he battled Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium’s stifling heat and England’s bowlers to score a swift century, paving the way for a convincing South African victory.
Klaasen’s aggressive 109 off 67 balls rivaled the oppressive heat that saw England’s David Willey cramp up consistently. South Africa set a daunting total of 399 for 7, demanding England to attempt the second-highest successful ODI run chase. However, the English side faltered, collapsing to a mere 170 in 22 overs, marking their worst ODI loss.
Throughout his innings, Klaasen struck 12 boundaries and four sixes. He forged a notable 151-run partnership with Marco Jansen in just 77 balls. This wasn’t the only highlight, as Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen collaborated for 121 runs after Quinton de Kock’s early dismissal. Hendricks secured 85 runs off 75 balls, while Jansen dominated with a quickfire 75 not out from 42 balls.
England’s innings suffered early setbacks, with their top three batsmen contributing a meager 24 runs within the first six overs. Ben Stokes, returning from an injury hiatus, was visibly frustrated after his early dismissal, further deepening England’s woes. Despite Jos Buttler’s brief flurry of boundaries, England’s downfall was imminent. The only notable contributions came from Mark Wood, with a spirited 43 not out off 17 balls, and Gus Atkinson, who added 35 runs.
The outcome revitalized South Africa after their surprising loss to the Netherlands, casting doubts over England’s prospects in the later stages of the tournament.
Having chosen to bowl first, Buttler might have regretted his decision as the Proteas batsmen made the most of the favorable pitch conditions. While England began on a high note, dismissing de Kock early, South Africa’s momentum picked up soon after. Hendricks and van der Dussen, especially, took charge.
Though Adil Rashid provided some relief for England, dismissing both Hendricks and van der Dussen, Klaasen’s explosive batting kept the scoreboard ticking. Jansen, too, exhibited exemplary hitting, propelling South Africa to their highest ODI score against England.
Klaasen’s efforts on the field left him visibly exhausted, and he was rested during England’s innings. However, the exhaustion did not overshadow his role in the triumph. He was rightly named the Player of the Match, emerging on the field in fresh attire, drained but beaming with pride.