India in South Africa

Pink ODI hero Klaasen surprised by Kohli’s decision to not bowl pacers at death

The move backfired as the wrist-spin duo conceded 119 runs in 11.3 overs for just three wickets as South Africa won the fourth ODI by five wickets.

South Africa’s Heinrich Klaasen said he was surprised by Virat Kohli’s decision to not bowl Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah at the death despite wrist-spinners leaking runs.

The move backfired as the spin duo conceded 119 runs in 11.3 overs for just three wickets as South Africa won the fourth ODI by five wickets in the rain-affected match.

“I was very surprised,” Klaasen said about Kohli’s call after South Africa’s target was revised.

“David [Miller] and I thought they would have kept them [the pacers] at back for two overs each. But I think how this series went that led them to bowl their spinners for the remaining of the overs. But I was very surprised about it.”

The 26-year-old wicket-keeper batsman, who replaced injured Quinton de Kock, said that it was Yadav who had worried the Proteas in the series so far with his variations.

“I wouldn’t say [we have solved the spin riddle]. The problem at beginning of series was that we didn’t pick the chinaman [Yadav]. That obviously makes the difference not to be able to score against him,” said Klaasen, who played a blinder of knock [47 off 27 balls] last night.

“No one really struggled to pick Chahal but he seemed to pick up a lot of the wickets. We struggled to pick up the chinaman’s variations. But we did a lot of homework on him over the last two to three days and that seemed to work today.”

Klaasen proved to be the real difference as he punished the spinners with a plethora of inventive shots, and chased umpteen wide deliveries, hitting them in an unorthodox manner. But the batsman said it was a calculated risk which he took against the spinners.

“That’s where the gaps were...that was my only boundary option. He bowled quite wide and got a lot of turn and bounce, that was my gutsy shot at that moment and I pulled it off,” said Klaasen.

“So we were very calculated in our approach there. Maybe it didn’t look like it! But it was all calculated and planned out, what we wanted to do.”

South Africa’s target was revised to 202 from 28 overs following two rain interruptions. But despite the loss of AB de Villiers for only 26, Klaasen and Miller took the Proteas home. The turning point came when Miller was dropped on 6 and then bowled off a Chahal no ball on 7. He went on to make 39 off 28 balls and changed the momentum.

Confident about the chase

“I knew between myself and David, we could let that run- rate go up till about probably 12-13, especially at the Wanderers where the ball tends to fly quite a bit,” he said.

“It was definitely a momentum changer for us, getting that free hit on David’s wicket. He’s a cool, calm and experienced cricketer.”

Klaasen said he was confident of pulling off the chase even after de Villiers dismissal.

“I didn’t think we were over the line (when Miller got out), but I was still calm. I’ve done it a lot. I mean 28 off 26 the batting side should win 99 per cent of the time.

“You need to keep that cool and calm composure and luckily Andile (Phehlukwayo) took all that pressure off me with some big hits,” he said.

At one stage India were on course for a total in excess of 300 but some brilliant death bowling by South Africa restricted them to 289/7.

“That was a phenomenal 16 overs. I thought our death bowling in Cape Town was also very good. That’s a good thing to see that our death bowling is picking up.

“Morrie [Chris Morris] and KG [Kagiso Rabada] are bowling very well. I think India were looking at 340 at some stage, so all credit needs to go to the bowlers to restrict them and get us back into the series,” Klaasen said.

With inputs from PTI

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