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‘I played the conditions, not the situation’ - Klaasen post his stunning ton

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Last updated on 22 Mar 2023 | 03:37 AM
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‘I played the conditions, not the situation’ - Klaasen post his stunning ton

From 87/4 in 12.1 overs, South Africa remarkably ended up chasing 261 in under 30 overs

Prior to Tuesday, only two South Africans — AB de Villiers and Mark Boucher — had smashed an ODI ton in 54 or fewer balls, and the Senwes Park in Potchefstroom, Henirich Klaasen joined the list on the back of a stunning onslaught in the third ODI against West Indies.

Klaasen’s stroke-making was mind-boggling in itself but even more absurd was the situation in which he managed to do the same. Chasing 261, the Proteas were in all sorts at 87/4 and had only one specialist batter — David Miller — left in the sheds. The match situation demanded a slow rebuild that would help the hosts find their way back into the chase, but Klaasen paid no heed to the situation as he went bang, bang, taking down every single Windies bowler in the process.

And outrageously enough, the ploy ended up working as South Africa got home in just 29.3 overs, in turn becoming the first team in ODI history to chase a 250+ target within 30 overs. Klaasen finished with 119* off just 61 balls and the hosts ended up leveling the series in the most thrilling fashion imaginable.

So how did Klaasen do what he did? How did he, with his side’s back against the wall, gather the courage to come out swinging and steamroll the opposition?

"It was one of those days where the first couple of shots went into the gap," Klaasen said after the game.

"To be quite honest, the rest was simple for me. We're trying to play the conditions and not the situations, and the conditions were fantastic to bat on.

"I felt like I had a couple of loose deliveries that I capitalised on, and I felt that set the tempo for my innings.

"I didn't have to take too many risks, even though I took one or two, but the good ball I could have respected.

"There was no pressure, even when I got in, to chase any sort of big run-rate when the conditions are that good.

"You just have to bat through and play each ball on its own merits."

The knock on Tuesday was, by far, the most explosive of Klaasen’s ODI career and the 31-year-old said that he fixed a small flaw at the nets in the lead-up to the game that allowed him to free up his game.

"We just fixed a little technical thing at the nets after 50 balls of edging and surviving balls," Klaasen said.

"I just tried to stay nice and still and calm. I think after that, I hit a couple of better balls and everything seemed to hit the middle of the bat a bit better.

"I took that confidence into today's game."

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