Cape Town - Henrich Klaasen played an innings of Albie Morkel-esque proportions, to blast Northerns to victory in the final Pool A match of the Africa T20 Cup at Sahara Park Willowmoore on Sunday, and qualification for the semi-final and final round to be played early next month.
Hosts, Easterns, appeared to have the match under control when Northerns went into the last 7 overs needing a run rate of 11 to the over and Morkel already back in the pavilion, having been needlessly run out going for a second run after being dropped off his initial scoring stroke.
But Klaasen, who recently led the SA Emerging Squad to a limited overs series win in Sri Lanka, proved more than equal to the occasion, smashing an unbeaten 73 off 39 balls with six fours and 3 sixes. “I knew we needed to have one really big over to get on track and make sure that we did not have too many to get in the final over,” commented Klaasen.
And that is exactly what he did as Northerns took 17 runs off the 18th over bowled by the luckless Grant Thomson with Klaasen hitting 3 fours off successive balls. That took the target down to a very manageable 17 off 12 balls and then 8 off the final over.
That final over was not without drama as his partner, Ruben Claassen was run out off a wide and then Klaasen himself nearly got run out getting back on strike. He was helped by a no ball from Vincent Moore which gave him a free hit which he pumped out of the ground to finish the contest with 3 balls to spare.
Rivaldo Moonsamy, who shared a partnership of 69 for the sixth wicket in 6 overs, also deserves a lot of credit as he rotated the strike with a run-a-ball innings to give Klaasen as much strike as possible.
If anybody deserved not to be on the losing side it was Thomson who top-scored in both matches in which Easterns got on the field and was also excellent in the field and with the ball. Today’s effort produced 47 runs off 40 balls (3 fours and 2 sixes) and enabled Easterns to post a target of 127 and for a long time it looked like being a match-winning contribution.
But in the end it was Klaasen’s day and Northerns have certainly found themselves another star in the 24-year-old wicketkeeper/batsman.