MUMBAI, Saturday - The Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai witnessed a scintillating performance in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup as Heinrich Klaasen's remarkable century propelled South Africa to a historic 229-run win over defending champions England. The right-handed dynamo blazed through 109 runs off just 67 balls, embellishing his innings with 12 boundaries and four colossal sixes, setting an imposing target of 400 runs for the 2019 winners.
Klaasen found solid support from the sensational Marco Jansen, who not only smashed an unbeaten 75 off 42 deliveries, featuring three fours and six maximums but also contributed with the ball, grabbing two crucial wickets for 35 runs.
In the absence of captain Temba Bavuma due to illness, Reeza Hendricks (85 off 75 balls, including 9 fours and 3 sixes) and Rassie van der Dussen (60 off 61 balls, with 8 boundaries) also showcased their prowess with crucial half-centuries.
However, England's response was lackluster as they crumbled to a mere 170 runs, getting bowled out in just 22 overs, marking their heaviest One-Day International (ODI) defeat.
For the South African team, this victory was a spectacular comeback following a disappointing performance earlier in the week when they suffered a shocking loss to the Netherlands in Dharamsala. With this win, they climbed to the third position on the table, trailing leaders India and New Zealand by just two points. Their next challenge awaits them on Tuesday when they take on Bangladesh at the same venue.
The South African side will be riding high on confidence after their exceptional display against one of the world's top cricket teams.
England's decision to field first after winning the toss turned out to be a regrettable one, as they conceded the highest ever runs in their ODI history. Despite an early dismissal of Quinton de Kock for just four runs, the Proteas built a solid foundation with a 121-run partnership between Van der Dussen and Hendricks. Klaasen and Markram further accelerated the scoring, putting on 69 runs for the fourth wicket. After the departure of the stand-in captain and David Miller, the South Africans unleashed a run-scoring frenzy.
Klaasen and Jansen's record-breaking sixth-wicket partnership of 151 runs propelled the South African total to 399 for seven, surpassing the previous record of 137 set by Hansie Cronje and Shaun Pollock.
In response, England's batting faltered as they lost key players like Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, and Ben Stokes within the first nine overs. Their innings collapsed to 68 for six. Despite a late fightback from Gus Atkinson and Mark Wood, who added 70 runs for the ninth wicket, it wasn't enough to prevent a record-breaking defeat.
England will need to regroup and recover from this devastating loss as they continue their campaign in the World Cup.
[Submitted by Estea Rademeyer]