Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

‘We’ve done our job here,’ says Klaasen, as Proteas leave New York

The SA team have one more group match this weekend, but they are already looking ahead to the second round.

While they went unbeaten in their first three matches in New York, the Proteas were made to work hard for it, and middle-order batter Heinrich Klaasen hopes the challenges they have faced in the group stages of the T20 World Cup will help them prepare for matches against tougher opposition later in the tournament.

Playing at a temporary facility at Nassau County Stadium, the SA team defeated Sri Lanka, the Netherlands and Bangladesh, but they had to dig deep in the closing stages of low-scoring games and were nearly edged by Bangladesh on Monday night.

Though they still had one group stage match to play against Nepal on Saturday, Klaasen said they were already looking ahead to the Super 8 stage of the competition.

‘Harder than we thought’

And with better conditions expected in Saint Vincent this weekend, compared to the unpredictable drop-in pitches in New York, he hoped things would get a little easier, particularly for the batters.

“We’ve done our job. The goal was to win three out of three here (in New York),” said Klaasen, who hit 46 runs to lay the foundation for his team’s narrow victory over Bangladesh.

“Obviously it was a little bit harder than what we thought, but it’s also good preparation going into the next phase of this competition.

“We dealt with pressure very well in these three games, and it’s always good experience. You can put it in a notebook and always go back when the tough times are there again.”

Expanding the game

Having played in New York for the first time, with the International Cricket Council taking the game to a new audience in the United States, Klaasen hoped the global federation would continue to showcase the sport in untapped markets across the world.

“We’re open, as cricketers, to play anywhere as long as there are good conditions and we can play good cricket,” Klaasen said.

“I think it’s a good idea to play T20 cricket around the world in different countries.”

All matches in the Super 8 stage and the playoffs at the T20 World Cup will be played in the West Indies, so the Proteas won’t be returning to the US for the rest of the tournament.