Dev Tyagi ∙ May 19 2023, 8:59 AM

Heinrich Klaasen - In A Class of His Own

image-lhubaowmBoth Kohli & Klaasen scored centuries in SRH vs RCB on Thursday (AP Photo)

They say, batting is more about creating an impact and cricket, on the whole, is about improving on your past or more recent performances. 

Is that not true?

Whatever it is, it all seems to hold true where it comes to a certain Heinrich Klaasen. 

For if you were to simply cast your eye on what Heinrich Klaasen was up to right before his mega, ultimately uplifting and, hugely satisfying hundred against RCB, you’d realise that he was improving with every single inning that he played. 

How’s that? 

He had seemed in fine touch in the game against the Rajasthan Royals a few days ago, wherein he hit 26 runs. But it was a cameo. 

Next up, he’d score a 47 against Lucknow Super Giants. 

But he’d reserve some fine battering for the Gujarat Titans in what became the next game; a team that’s powered with brilliant bowling talents featuring Rashid, Shami and Pandya himself saw Klaasen with a smashing 64.

Yet, that mega score that would do more than just move heads in admiration was missing. 

It finally came a few hours back and could not have happened against a more pulsating opponent than Bangalore. 

Or so it felt!

Not a batter who is very picky on whom to hit and whom to pardon the spanking of the bat; Heinrich Klaasen has no hidden tricks up his sleeve. 

Even those who’d put a cursory glance at his batting would be content at calling him a clean hitter.  

Though, not a a flair player, but a batter-associated with changing gears and upping the tempo of an inning, Klaasen did just that to the Royal Challengers Bangalore and perhaps when they least expected it; though when Hyderabad most wanted it. 

A batter who always seemed in the nearabouts of getting there and yet had managed to eschew the magical three figure score in seventeen previous innings in the IPL finally got there and at the back of sublime hitting. 

Signalling remarkable intent, perhaps the single most distinguishing factor about his inning, saw Klaasen discard none of it until the end as he’d prowl down the track to Harshal Patel akin to an attacking tiger. He lifted a huge hit that went several rows back into the crowd to bring up his maiden IPL century. 

A milestone moment for a remarkable cricketer: a simpleton who’s solid with the bat. 

In truth, however, Heinrich Klaasen’s remarkable century proved to be quite remarkable from a stat point of view for an outfit that hasn’t quite played as remarkably in this edition as it would’ve liked. 

It would turn out to be just the second hundred by a Sunrisers Hyderbad batsman this edition. 

The 104 would turn out to be the second fastest century smashed by a Hyderbad batter; the fastest being David Warner’s a few seasons ago. 

More significantly, while Klaasen smashed 104 on his own, the rest of the team made 82 runs combined. 

How’s that for impact and considerable battering of the bowlers?

Twitter fans describe him as a batsman who seems to be on a lone vigil. 

The South Africans can’t help but feel for a lonely lad who’s been producing the goods with the bat for the IPL while the others, such as Markram have, at best, been ordinary. 

But in truth, Heinrich Klaasen, besides being pleasing to the eye, epitomises the quintessential never say die Protea spirit. 

That’s what we’ve admired the South Africans for. That’s what the world comes to expect of them, nothing more, nothing less. 

Even if the bowlers will come to dread him.

And why won’t they; it was just yesterday where the blazing right hander struck fourteen hits to the fence including 6 sixes?