Unveiling the story behind Klaasen’s stunning century

‘The heat was extreme. They (England bowlers) looked like they were physically under the pump’

South African power hitter Heinrich Klaasen rates his scintillating century against defending champions England as one of his best as he beat the stifling heat to help his side to a massive 229-run World Cup victory in Mumbai on Saturday.

Klaasen needed 67 balls for his 109 as he put on 151 for the sixth wicket with Marco Jansen in South Africa’s mammoth total of 399 for seven in 50 overs, before bowling England out for 170 in reply to inflict a record defeat on their opponents in one-day Internationals.

It was a fourth ODI ton for Klaasen, who has emerged as a game-changer in the middle order for South Africa, able to score at a rapid rate and provide impetus in the closing overs of the innings.

“It is up there with my best ever, I have been hitting the ball nicely, but the conditions were brutal out there,” he said. “It is proper heat that saps all the energy out of you.”

“Quinny (Quinton de Kock) came upstairs and said, ‘Don’t run your ones too hard, make sure you can walk a quarter of your runs, save energy’.”

“The heat was extreme. They (England bowlers) looked like they were physically under the pump.”

His stand with Jansen came from only 76 deliveries, the highest run-rate for any partnership of 150 or more in World Cups.

All-rounder Jansen contributed a career-best 75 from 42 balls.

“He was next level, he kept me going and told me I can’t walk off the field unless I get a hundred,” Klaasen said. “He has been phenomenal and has worked so hard on his batting, so for him to come off like that under this kind of pressure was so vital for us.”

South Africa bounced back from a shock 38-run loss to the Netherlands on Tuesday.

“It was a tough loss, but we know we are playing good cricket and one bad performance doesn’t make us a bad team,” Klaasen said. “We had some hard chats to be honest and the boys bounced back (well).”

South Africa are next in action against Bangladesh at the same venue on Tuesday.

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