Ken Borland

By Ken Borland


Proteas have it all in place for ODIs after initial squirm: Klaasen

"We took the game to them and it paid off. We’ll now have a day off and then a couple of training sessions and then we’ll be good to go."

Their opening warm-up match against the England Lions caused many to squirm after the heavy defeat they suffered, but Thursday night’s comprehensive win over the same team had batting hero Heinrich Klaasen saying the Proteas have everything in place for their ODI series against world champions England that starts on Tuesday.

The Lions – England’s version of their A side – chased down 319 in just 37.1 overs in the first match, but South Africa rebounded to beat them by 107 runs in Worcester. The Proteas again batted first and posted a formidable 360/7, but this time they only used their five frontline bowlers and bowled their opponents out for 253.

In the first match, South Africa gave eight bowlers a run and they all just bowled a handful of overs because preparation was more important than the result. But Thursday night’s clash was very much a dress rehearsal for the first ODI and was played under 11-a-side rules.

The batsmen, led by Heirnch Klaasen with scores of 51 off 35 and 123 off 85, look in good shape and the likely bowling attack did well on Thursday night as well.

“We’ll take a lot of confidence from that,” Klaasen said. “They’ve given us two very good pitches to bat on, so the batsmen are smiling with a lot of confidence, and the bowling was a lot better too.

“We took the game to them and it paid off. We’ll now have a day off and then a couple of training sessions and then we’ll be good to go.

“The bowlers were able to get more of a feel of the game and the way the England Lions played was very aggressive. It was a good outing for the bowlers because the Lions played the same brand that England will use, so we know what to expect and how to adapt,” Klaasen said.

Attacking edge

The 30-year-old Klaasen, batting at No.7 in the first game and at No.5 for his fiery century, has brought a fantastic attacking edge to the Proteas line-up. It is a continuation of the fine form he showed on the T20 tour of India, his first appearances for South Africa since October 2021.

Read more: Proteas to take Klaasen’s self-belief into series-defining third T20 against India

“Hopefully I can keep riding the wave, I’m quite happy with where I am at the moment and the way I am striking the ball,” Klaasen said. “It’s about staying in the game and taking every ball as it comes.

“I’m hitting the ball nicely and I’m in a good mental space. Andile Phehlukwayo [67 off 53] joined me at an awkward stage [167/5 in 30 overs] and I was very pleased with the way we went about our partnership.

“It’s good to have Andi in form and hitting the ball so nicely. He took the pressure off me, he said I must just get to my hundred and he’ll take care of the rest,” Klaasen said.

Also read: Boucher upbeat ahead of England ODIs – ‘We’ve got the players and a plan’