The career best ton in a List A match was impressive enough.
But that was not merely Heinrich Klaasen’s 127 off 108 balls with 12 fours and three sixes that his team mates and management team singing his praise in South Africa A’s one-wicket defeat against India A at the LC de Villiers Oval in a Tri-Series match on Thursday.
South Africa struck 266. India limped home with two balls to spare and one wicket in hand.
“The pressure situation was immense. Heinrich came to the wicket with three wickets down [South Africa 20-3],” said Klaasen’s Multiply Titans’ teammate Henry Davids.
Davids lost his wicket with his score on 14, and was one of the admiring spectators who watched Klaasen grow in stature.
“What is so impressive about Heinrich is that he is undaunted by the match situation. He plays the game according to his abilities.
“He is a very positive player who backs himself. Heinrich can play off either front or back foot and can find the boundaries anywhere,” said Davids.
Since Mark Boucher, the Multiply Titans coach, made the brave but correct move to push Klaasen up the order at the backend of the Sunfoil Series, the results at number four have been sensational.
The wicketkeeper-batsman has scored 195, 103 and now 127 in that position. It is no easy feat for a wicketkeeper, especially if you have to come to the wicket early after a few quick strikes by the opposing faster men.
Having almost closed in on a double century was a turning point, and since that excellent performance against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins, he also toured New Zealand as South Africa’s reserve wicketkeeper.
Self-belief has been at the heart of his transformation from a fringe player in the Titans’ set-up in 2015/2016 in which he scored only 95 four-day runs, to becoming the kingpin of the South Africa A line-up.
“Yes, I think Heinrich will know that all he needs to do now, is to pile up the volume of runs and stick to his game-plan,” said Davids.
“He hurts bowling attacks. He can bully them, and he can do it with a variety of release shots – over extra-cover, mid-wicket or through the covers – which puts an enormous burden on the opposition.”
South Africa A’s next match is on Saturday 5 August against Afghanistan A at the LC de Villiers Oval.