Klaasen 174 helps South Africa draw level

Klaasen 174 helps South Africa draw level

Powered by a thunderous century from Heinrich Klaasen, South Africa produced a monstrous batting display in the fourth ODI in Centurion to beat Australia by 164 runs. The wicket-keeper smashed 174 off 83 deliveries to propel the Proteas to 416/5 – South Africa’s second-highest score against Australia in ODIs.

Mitchell Marsh’s side managed just 252 in response to slump to a crushing defeat, allowing the Proteas to level the series at 2-2 after losing the opening two games and set up a decider in the fifth and final encounter.

Having been put into bat, the hosts got off to a sedate start. Openers Quinton de Kock and Reeza Hendricks managed just 44 runs in the powerplay, and Australia kept the scoring rate down throughout the first half of the innings, restricting the hosts to 120/3 at the halfway mark.

However, the scene changed upon Heinrich Klaasen’s introduction in the 26th over, with the wicket-keeper producing a special innings to stun the Australians.

Klaasen initially played second fiddle to Rassie van der Dussen, who added a brisk half-century, but took over after his dismissal, smashing 13 fours and 13 sixes in his extraordinary batting effort. After taking 38 balls to get to his half-century, Klaasen cut loose in the pristine batting conditions at SuperSport Park, adding his next fifty off just 19 deliveries to score his third ODI ton.

No Australian bowler was left alone as the big hits kept coming from the blades of Klaasen and Miller, who added an equally devastating 82 off 45 balls. The pair shared a 222-run stand for the fifth wicket and added an ODI record 173 runs in the final ten overs of the innings to set Australia a mammoth target of 417.

Needing to go big from the outset, Australia lost David Warner and Mitchell Marsh within the first five overs of their chase. Compounding their woes, Travis Head was forced off the field after being struck on the arm by Gerald Coetzee. The visitors continued to lose wickets as the asking rate skyrocketed, with Marnus Labuschagne and Marcus Stoinis nicking off.

Alex Carey played a lone fighting hand for Australia but kept losing partners at the other end. Aiden Markram took a stunning catch to send back Tim David before Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada ran through the tail. Carey was the last man dismissed, cruelly edging behind on 99 as Australia folded for 252 to give the Proteas a morale-boosting 164-run win.