South Africa maintained their 100 percent record in the Pink Day ODI after they chased down a thrilling total in the fourth ODI at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
South Africa who were devastated after three humiliating defeats in the first three ODI’s found some much-needed heroes in the form of David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen.
The match was affected by the rain, and the target was reduced to 202 in 28 which made it a T20 game after the lightning break in the South African innings.
South Africa went into the match looking to keep the series alive, and with the return of AB De Villiers, the hosts got a morale boost. His presence was enough to lift the host’s confidence, as he came in and took the attack to the Indian wrist spinners who had posed a big threat to the opposition batting line up.
However, Miller, Klaasen and Andile Phehlukwayo were the three batsmen who eventually guided their side to a thrilling victory. Klaasen who came into the side after the ouster of South Africa’s wicket-keeper batsman Quinton De Kock was adjudged the man of the match for his fighting 27 balls 43.
Klaasen who was not even in the frame to get selected for the national side two weeks ago became the star of the show. He said,
“I told my ‘meisie’ (girlfriend) that I didn’t have tickets to come to Pink Day.”
Klaasen believes this win is a massive confidence booster for the side,
“We didn’t have the confidence but just to get the first win has lifted the spirits in the change room.”
South Africa also had some luck on their side after Miller was clean bowled only to find out later Yuzvendra Chahal had over-stepped. Klaasen said it was a massive momentum change for them,
“It was definitely a momentum changer for us, getting that free hit on David’s wicket. He’s a cool, calm and experienced cricketer and he just said, ‘Anything in our slot we need to back, and whatever we decide to do, we need to do fully.’ So we were very calculated in our approach there. Maybe it didn’t look like it, but it was all calculated and planned out.”
Klaasen found some unorthodox ways to bat against the Indian spinners one of them being when he walked outside the off-stump to play a ball which 4.5 meters away from the stumps to hit it on the leg side. Talking about the shot, he said,
“That’s where the gaps were, so I needed to do something about it. I can’t describe it but for me, that was my only boundary option, he bowled quite wide and got a lot of turn and bounce, that was my gutsy shot at that moment, and I pulled it off.”
He also played some reverse sweeps to unsettle the spinners,
“It comes naturally to me, but I work hard on it. Three years ago, we went to Sri Lanka on a National Academy trip. We learned all types of sweeps. Since then, I’ve brought it back into my game, and it works, it takes off a lot of pressure. Especially against good spinners, it’s difficult to hit them down the ground if you don’t use your feet well. So that just changed up their lengths and it suits me a little bit better.”
Klaasen was satisfied with his first major contribution to the national side, “Talking to our spinning coach (Claude Henderson), I just said that I wanted to get the first knock out of the way, get settled with the nerves and all those things. It’s been a long time coming. It means the world to me; it’s better than a hundred, better than anything else to play for your country.”
Here’s the news feed: