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‘Our mindset wasn’t even close to T20 cricket’ – Heinrich Klaasen on need to bat like ODI’s middle-overs against Bangladesh

'Our mindset wasn't even close to T20 cricket' - Heinrich Klaasen on need to bat like ODI's middle-overs against Bangladesh

David Miller and Klaasen. (Photo source: ICC)

Considering a team renowned for its aggressive batting lineup brimming with power and strength, it is quite astonishing that South Africa could only manage 113/6 in their allotted 20 overs during the first innings, particularly after winning the toss. However, before drawing any further conclusions, it’s crucial to examine the entire context, especially the sluggish pitch and the slow outfield of the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium.

Match 21 of the T20 World Cup 2024 unfolded along similar lines, with both South Africa and Bangladesh grappling to find momentum with the bat. Ultimately, it was the Proteas who narrowly emerged victorious by four runs. South Africa’s top scorer (46 off 44) and Player of the Match, Heinrich Klaasen, who entered the fray with his team struggling at 23/4, delivered a crucial innings. Together with David Miller, the Player of the Match against the Netherlands, Klaasen orchestrated a rescue effort to extricate his team from a precarious situation.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Klaasen illuminated the distinctive strategy employed by him and Miller during their respective innings. Referring to Miller’s performance against the Netherlands (59* off 51), Klaasen described it as a blueprint they adhered to, likening their approach to the methodical batting typically seen in the middle overs of an ODI. He noted that their mindset diverged significantly from the usual T20 cricket mentality, opting instead to settle in and play at a run-a-ball rate, with the awareness that a few well-hit shots over the boundary would significantly boost their strike-rate.

Also Read: T20 World Cup 2024: SA vs BAN, Match 21 Highlights: Unmissable video recap, turning points, match analysis, stats, and more

“I think David [Miller] showed us in the previous game [against Netherlands] how to bat on this wicket and it’s almost a similar way that we bat in the middle overs in a one-day game,” Klaasen said. “So, our mindset is not even close to T20 cricket. You just want to get in and find a way to bat at a run a ball. And we know you’re one or two hits away just for going over the run-a-ball strike-rate,” said Klaasen.

That’s the biggest reason why we chose to bat first: Klaasen

Typically, one adheres to proven strategies, whether it be playing combinations, batting and bowling orders, or decisions made after winning the toss (especially when playing at the same venue where previous matches have been highly successful). However, South Africa chose to bat first, despite opting to chase in their initial two encounters of their campaign, and being successful in both of their endeavours. Klaasen elucidated this decision, justifying it by commending the remarkable effectiveness of the Bangladeshi bowlers, who have demonstrated exceptional proficiency on slow wickets in the past. He highlighted their adept use of slower-ball variations and cutters, acknowledging them as some of the finest in executing those techniques.

Also Read: T20 World Cup 2024: SA vs BAN – Who said What?

“These guys are incredible when the wicket becomes slow. So, that was the biggest reason why we didn’t want to chase 120. Given Bangladesh, when pressure is on, and they have to go into cutters, they’ve got some of the world’s best cutter bowlers and their spinners are high quality. So, that was the biggest reason why we chose to bat first,” added Klaasen.

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