Mumbai: Heinrich Klaasen braved energy-sapping conditions to hammer a match-winning 67-ball 109 against England here on Saturday and the South Africa batsman rated the innings among the best in his career.
Klassen’s hundred powered the Proteas to 399 for 7 and they restricted England to 170 for 9 to emerge victors by 229 runs.
“It’s (the hundred) up there with my best ever. The conditions were brutal. It’s just proper heat, sapped out all the energy. I was told to not run my runs too hard, save energy because the heat out there was extreme. England also looked under the pump,” ‘Player of the Match’ Klaasen said in the post-match presentation.
Klassen and Marco Jansen added 151 runs for a bruising sixth-wicket alliance, the best stand for South Africa in that position in ODIs, surpassing the 137 between Hansie Cronje and Shaun Pollock.
The 32-year-old said Jansen deserved the ‘Player of the Match’ award for his all-round effort.
“Jansen was next level, he kept me going and should get this award. His runs are so vital,” said Klaasen.
The Transvaal cricketer said the players were disappointed after their shock defeat to the Netherlands in their previous match and they were determined to make a comeback.
“Netherlands was a tough loss. One bad performance doesn’t make us a bad team. We had some hard chats, boys bounced back with training sessions. Fantastic performance today,” he added.
Stand-in South African captain Aiden Markram lauded Klaasen for his exploits in the No. 5 slot.
“Him at 5 and Miller at 6 is a destructive pair at the back end. He’s come a long way. We’ve played together for a while, great to see him showcase his abilities that we knew he always had, on a big stage,” said Markram.
Markram was also delighted to see the progress made by Jansen in his assigned role.
“He’s having a great competition. Takes a lot of pride with his batting and prepares to deal with the worst-case scenario. He has a lot of ability with the bat, his confidence will rise. It was a great stand with Klaasy,” he added.
Markram also said the defeat against the Dutch side was “hurting” and praised the way his side bounced back against England here.
Incredibly disappointing: Buttler
England captain Jos Butter described the loss against South Africa as disappointing, and, said on hindsight, that he should have decided to bat first.
“Incredibly disappointing. We came in with hopes of playing well but we were short of that and were well beaten,” said Buttler.
Buttler did not front the changes he made to the playing 11 on the day as an excuse for the defeat.
“Changes weren’t as big an issue. Throughout the first innings, a lot of things didn’t go to plan. (Reece) Topley got injured, we were unsure whether he’d come back or not and get a few overs in. It was a tough 50 overs.” On hindsight, Buttler said his call to bowl first was not the best one.
“Thought if we’d restricted them to 340-350 on this pitch, it’d have been a good chase. But they got away. Bowling first is potentially a mistake but you always look back on the decisions you make,” he said.
The Somerset man said the conditions in Mumbai were quite oppressive and his players struggled to adjust.
“Incredibly tough conditions with heat, etc, you saw that with the boys in the field. Potentially, we should’ve batted (first) due to the heat. The conditions were extremely tough. The humidity, cramps and all other challenges were tough,” he added.
Buttler said the shattering result has left England with little wriggle room and they need to win all the matches ahead to retain the chances of entering the knockout stages.
“We needed to get off to a good start while chasing a score like that. Ball did a bit, batters got down the leg side. When that kind of thing starts happening, you start thinking the writing is on the wall.”
“The loss leaves with no room for error. We have to probably win every game here on in,” he added.
(Published 21 October 2023, 17:23 IST)