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Heinrich Klaasen’s onslaught fires South Africa to 399/7 against England in World Cup

Mumbai: Heinrich Klaasen produced a hundred of the highest quality in extremely humid conditions to fire South Africa to 399 for seven, their highest total in World Cup contest against England, here on Saturday.

Klaasen resurrected South Africa with his third century of the year and overall fourth, hammering 109 off just 67 balls while Marco Jansen smashed terrific 75 not out (42 balls, 3x4s, 6x6s).

South Africa stumbled in the middle overs after Reeza Hendricks (85 off 75 balls, 9x4s, 3x6s) and Rassie van der Dussen (60 off 61 balls, 8x4s) ensured a strong platform, leaving Klaasen with the challenge to do the heavy-lifting in the final 15 overs, even though he was well supported by Jansen.

Klaasen and Jansen together pulled South Africa from the danger of being restricted to an at-par total.

While Klaasen had four sixes and 12 fours to show for his stupendous effort, Jansen also used long handle to a good effect, getting half a dozen maximums apart from three fours.

Klaasen regularly needed fluid intake during his innings but even while cramping up a bit didn’t leave the pitch unlike a few English bowlers, who found the heat unbearable.

And even if he would have wanted to celebrate such a monumental knock more than he did — a gesture towards the sky — Klaasen did not have much left in his tank when he smacked Mark Wood (7-0-76-0) for a six and a four to complete his ton in the 47th over.

Klaasen and Jansen added 151 runs for the sixth wicket off just 77 balls, which is now a record for South Africa against England in ODIs as well as in World Cup history.

With Temba Bavuma falling ill and Quinton de Kock (4) falling early, South Africa needed a special batting effort and their batters ensured that.

The wheels came off for England as total of 143 runs were scored off the final 10 overs whereas the last five produced as many as 84.

Earlier at the start, Reece Topley got one to swing and pitch on length, enticing Quinton de Kock to go for a drive.

England’s appeal was turned down but replays confirmed De Kock getting a thick edge on the fourth ball of the game as South Africa lost their most experienced player in these conditions without much contribution.

However, England had to manage without Topley as the tall left-arm quick left the field despite trying to manage an injury to his finger.

Van der Dussen led South Africa’s recovery from the early blow and after taking some time to find his feet — 13 balls to get off the mark — Hendricks played some spectacular shots too.

The powerplay yielded 59 runs for South Africa who welcomed England’s express pace bowler Wood with a flurry of fours in his first over.

Joe Root’s (0/48) bowling workload increased given Topley joined the field only before the 30th over.

The South Africans were happy with the developments given Root not posing any real threat and when the off-spinner came around the wicket, Hendricks smacked him for two outstanding sixes over cover to keep marching on.

But Adil Rashid (2/61) struck twice in the middle overs to keep England in the hunt. A slow, tossed up delivery had van der Dussen mis-hitting in the air and caught by Jonny Bairstow and not much later, he had Hendricks chopping on to be dismissed a few short of his second ODI century in five years.

(Published 21 October 2023, 13:55 IST)

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