An astonishing second career century by Heinrich Klaasen helped the Proteas thump West Indies by four wickets to earn a share of their Betway One-Day International (ODI) Series at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom on Tuesday.
The right-hander plundered an unbeaten 119 from just 61 balls (15 fours, 5 sixes) – and along the way recorded the fourth fastest century by a South African – to help the hosts chase down a target of 261 inside 30 overs.
Klaasen reached three figures from just 54 balls, only AB de Villiers (twice) and Mark Boucher, were quicker than him to reach there, as the home side ensured the three-match series ended 1-1. The first game of their showdown was washed out in East London last week.
Before Klaasen’s heroics, Marco Jansen (2/46), Bjorn Fortuin (2/46) and Gerald Coetzee (2/53) all took two wickets each to shoot out the tourists for 260 in 48.2 overs. Brandon King top-scored for the away side with 72 (72 balls, 11 fours, 1 six).
But that total proved a relatively easy one for the South Africans, who fell into early trouble before being rescued by one of the most memorable batting performances of the season.
The hosts were without several players at the start, captain Temba Bavuma, Reeza Hendricks and Sisanda Magala were all ruled out meaning T20I skipper Aiden Markram was placed in temporary charge.
After winning the toss and bowling, the Proteas struck regular blows all through the West Indies innings. King and Shamarh Brooks (18) did manage to string together a 71-run stand for the second wicket to take the score to 110 for one in the 19th over, before both fell less than three overs apart from each other.
Their losses proved key with the visitors then struggling to really find real momentum. Nicholas Pooran (39) and Jason Holder (36) were the best any of the other batters could muster with the islanders fading away to 260 with 10 balls of their innings remaining.
Apart from Jansen, Fortuin and Coetzee’s doubles, Markram was also excellent with one for 30 in 10 overs, with Wayne Parnell (1/30) and Lungi Ngidi (1/45) sharing the remaining wickets.
South Africa’s reply began poorly with Ryan Rickelton (3) falling in the third over, followed by Rassie van der Dussen in the fifth even though the home side were racing along at that point to reach 36 for two in the fifth.
They continued to attack and lost two more wickets in the 11th and 13th overs – first Aiden Markram went for 25 and then Tony de Zorzi departed for 21 leaving the home side on 87 for four. That brought Klaasen to the crease and he initially rebuilt with David Miller (17) during a stand of 55 in which he went to 50 in 30 balls.
More trouble followed when Miller was removed as the hosts fell to 142 for five, leaving them dangerously placed. However, Klaasen continued to play bold cricket and accelerate. He found someone to keep him company too in Jansen (43). The pair took their side to within 16 of the target during a stand of 103, with Parnell (4*) helping complete the job in 29.3 overs.