Photo Credit: SA20 League
Teams can analyse all the data they can lay their hands on. But they know deep in their souls that when confronted by a batter in the form that Heinrich Klaasen is currently in, all plans are rendered meaningless.
The Manchester Originals certainly discovered this on Wednesday evening when Klaasen blasted the fastest half-century in The Hundred off just 23 balls for the Oval Invincibles.
He was eventually dismissed for 60 off only 27 balls (2×4, 6×6).
“Definitely hitting the ball best I’ve been hitting in my career,” Klaasen said recently. “I have been experimenting in the last couple of years which finally got me a clear formula that has been successful for me. I’ve been sticking with it over the past 30 months and hopefully the wave keeps coming and I can stay onboard to keep riding it.”
Klassen is certainly riding the wave and has morphed into arguably the hottest property in T20 franchise cricket over the past year. Everywhere the 32-year-old travels to, regardless of country and conditions, he gets down to blazing away from the middle.
The Durban’s Super Giants star has long been a talent that had the ability to powerfully strike a cricket ball cleanly, but he has now discovered that much sought-after consistency that has made him a global commodity.
And it was right here in the Betway SA20 that Klassen began putting the pieces together that have led to this hot streak.
Working with another famed former Proteas slugger in DSG head coach Lance Klusener, Klaasen broke free of the shackles and blasted 363 runs in nine innings at a strike-rate of 164. It included his maiden T20 franchise century against the Pretoria Capitals.
The runs continued to flow at an international level too with Klaasen following it up with a blistering 119 not out off just 61 balls (15×4, 5×6) against the West Indies in the third ODI in Potchefstroom.
The next challenge was the Indian Premier League. After a few previous false starts, Klassen took the 2023 IPL season by storm with 448 runs at an average of 49.78 at an even better strike-rate of 177.08 for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
It was an amazing achievement considering Klaasen bats in the middle-order, unlike many of the other top run-getters, where he has to clear the field outside of the Powerplay restrictions. It was at the IPL that his ability to destroy world-class spinners came to the fore as he brought up another T20 century.
After a short break in South Africa, Klaasen packed his bags for a maiden sojourn at the inaugural Major League Cricket in the United States of America where he joined up with fellow South African and DSG teammate Quinton de Kock at the Seattle Orcas.
The pair wreaked havoc in Texas with De Kock (264 runs at 44) just edging out Klaasen (235 runs at 58.75) into third place on the overall run-scoring charts. As has now become customary, Klaasen added a further T20 ton to his growing list and even raised his strike-rate to a now astronomical 197.47.
But Klaasen is certainly not done yet. Don’t bet against him adding a further century in The Hundred before this competition runs its course.