New Delhi: South Africa's wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen on Wednesday provided the hosts with the lift they needed in a blistering fashion that saw him tonk 69 off 30 balls to fashion a six-wicket win against India in the second T20I in Centurion.
Klaasen, who was drafted into the ODI and T20I squad after Quinton de Kock got injured, has grabbed the opportunity with both hands, which will put pressure on De Kock - at least in the limited-overs formats.
On a day when rain threatened to bring D/L method into play, Klaasen was promoted up the order and went hammer and tongs against the Indian bowlers, especially legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal who had an off day bowling a four-over spell of 0/64. It turned out to be the most expensive spell ever by an Indian bowler in T20 internationals.
Klassen hit three fours and seven towering sixes in his knock, displaying the 360-degree side of his batting as well when he reverse-swept Chahal for a six.
Once he was dismissed by Jaydev Unadkat caught behind by MS Dhoni off a knuckleball, stand-in skipper JP Duminy stepped up to the plate with a captain's knock of 64* off 40 balls as SA chased down India's 188/4 with eight balls to spare.
Klaasen made his first-class debut in the 2012-13 season and averaged 42.58, 52.10 and 65.25 in his first three seasons - according to ESPNcricinfo.
The man from Transvaal in Pretoria made his first franchise hundred in February last year. He scored 195 to help Titans defeat Dolphins. His exploits in the season earned him a call-up to the SA Test squad against New Zealand in March last year as a reserve wicketkeeper.
His style of batting suits the T20 format, but the South African is not part of the coming Indian Premier League season in India. However, if reports are true, Kolkata Knight Riders are already eyeing the South African as a replacement for Australia's Chris Lynn, who got injured in the T20 tri-series final against New Zealand.