Indian batter Shreyas Iyer credited South Africa wicketkeeper-batter Heinrich Klaasen for his match-winning knock for the visitors in the second T20I at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Sunday (June 12).
South Africa defeated India by four wickets in the second T20I to inch closer to series triumph in the five-match series. Klaasen, who kept the wickets in the absence of regular wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, played a quintessential hand for the visitors in the tricky chase of 149.
Heinrich Klaasen guides South Africa to a four-wicket win in the second T20I
Despite Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar running through the Proteas batting order upfront in the chase with three wickets in the Powerplay overs, Klaasen stood firm at the crease and resurrected their innings alongside skipper Temba Bavuma.
Klaasen pressed the accelerator button in the 64-run partnership with Bavuma, who scored 35 off 30 balls with four boundaries and a six. The duo saw the threat of Bhuvneshwar’s fiery spell and brought South Africa back into the game.
Klaasen took the toll on the Indian spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar, leaving no stone unturned to maximise the scoring opportunities against the pair. Klaasen smashed Chahal for a total of three sixes and a boundary in their enticing battle, mostly dominated by the South African.
Axar was introduced in the 12th over of the chase and Klaasen took him to the cleaners with a couple of fours and a six over deep mid-wicket as the left-arm spinner conceded 19 runs from his lone over of the game.
Heinrich Klaasen batted really well: Shreyas Iyer
The South Africa wicketkeeper-batter brought up his fourth T20I half-century in 32 balls and finished at 81 from 46 deliveries with seven fours and five sixes, striking over 176 as South Africa completed the chase with 10 balls to spare.
Iyer lavished praise on Klaasen’s execution of the range of shots against their spin bowlers. The Indian player also defended the bowling unit’s plans in the game.
“Klaasen targeted our spinners really well. He played shots off good lengths. The ball wasn’t turning and he was standing and delivering. The strokes he hit mostly landed over the ropes. He batted really well and credit to him. I don’t think our bowlers did much wrong. They bowled in the right areas and varied their pace as well. It was just that Klaasen’s execution was very good,” Iyer said in the post-match press conference.
Earlier in the game, Iyer (40 in 35 balls) top-scored for India with Ishan Kishan (34 in 21 balls) being the second best. Dinesh Karthik’s late finishing skills helped the hosts post a moderate 148/6 on the board.
India will play South Africa in the third T20I on Tuesday (June 14) at the ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam.