New Delhi [India], September 16 (ANI): Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag lauded South African wicketkeeper-batter Heinrich Klaasen for his knock against Australia in the fourth ODI, calling it "the best hitting he has seen in a long time".
An all-round South Africa crushed Australia by 164 runs in the fourth ODI following a batting masterclass by Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller and an excellent performance by the pace duo of Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi on Friday.
Sehwag took to X (Formerly known as Twitter) to express his admiration for Klaasen's 174 off 83 balls, which came with 13 fours and 13 massive sixes. Having made 24 in his first 24 balls, Klaasen pushed himself into top gear to score 150 runs in just 58 balls later.
"What an innings, Heinrich Klaasen, first 25 balls 24 runs, next 58 balls 150. The best hitting I have seen in a long long time. AUSvsSA," tweeted Sehwag.
It is no surprise that Sehwag has taken such a liking to Klaasen's batting as he himself was one of the most destructive batters of his time. In 251 ODIs, he scored 8,273 runs at an average of 35.05 and a strike rate of above 104. He scored 15 centuries and 38 half-centuries, with the best score of 219.
Klaasen has meanwhile showcased incredible form in white-ball cricket this year. In 10 ODIs for SA this year, he has scored 521 runs in nine innings at an average of 65.12 and a strike rate of above 155. He has two centuries and a fifty, with the best score of 174.
Even in the T20 league circuit, Klaasen's record has been remarkable. In the inaugural SA20 in South Africa this year, he scored 363 runs in nine innings for Durban Super Giants (DSG) at an average of 60.50 and a strike rate of above 164. He scored a century and three fifties in the tournament, with 104 as his best score. He was the fourth-highest run-scorer in the tournament.
In the inaugural Major League Cricket (MLC) in the USA this year, he scored 235 runs at an average of 58.75 and a strike rate of over 197, with one century and one fifty. His best score was 110. He ended as the third-highest run-scorer in the tournament.
In the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, he did a one-man carry job for an inconsistent Sunrisers Hyderabad line-up, scoring 448 runs in 12 matches at an average of 49.77 and a strike rate of 177.07, with one century and two fifties. He was his side's leading run-scorer.
In the Men's Hundred 2023, Klaasen scored 189 runs in seven matches at an average of 31.50, with a fifty and a strike rate of 178.30. His best score was 60.
Coming to the match, England elected to bat first. After the early dismissal of Jonny Bairstow, a 79-run stand between Malan and Joe Root (29) brought England to three figures. Malan smashed his fifth ton and formed important partnerships with skipper Jos Buttler (36) and Liam Livingstone (28) to power England to the 250-run mark. Handy contributions from the lower order led by Sam Curran (20), took England to 311/9 in 50 overs.
Rachin Ravindra (4/60) was the pick of the bowlers for the Kiwis. Matt Henry and Daryl Mitchell took two wickets. Kyle Jamieson got one wicket.
In the chase of 312, NZ batting once again faltered. Except for knocks from Rachin Ravindra (61 in 48 balls with three fours and four sixes) and Henry Nicholls (41 in 48 balls), the Kiwis batters failed to make much impact and were bundled out for 211 in 38.2 overs, losing the match by 100 runs.
Moeen Ali (4/50) was the pick of the bowlers for England. Liam Livingstone, Curran, David Willey and Brydon Carse took a wicket each.
England won the series 3-1 and Malan took home the 'Player of the Match' award. (ANI)