Men’s ODI WC: Drafted in 5 minutes before toss, South Africa’s Hendricks happy to make most of his chance

Mumbai, Oct 21 Informed just five minutes before the toss that he will be playing his first match in the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023, Reeza Hendricks struck a superb half-century that laid the foundation for South Africa’s big score against England at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday.

Hendricks was thrown into deep waters after skipper Temba Bavuma pulled out due to illness in a crucial match after South Africa suffered an embarrassing defeat against minnows the Netherlands. He came out with flying colours as he along with Rossie van der Dussen (60) set the foundation for South Africa’s massive score,

The 34-year-old Hendricks scored a 75-ball 85 and added 121 runs for the second wicket with van der Dussen after South Africa lost opener Quinton de Kock (4) on the second ball of the match.

Hendricks was “quite pleased” by his effort but told the official broadcaster that batting was tough at the start as he had to find his feet.

“Was tough at the start, had to find my feet. Happy once I got going and with the partnership with Rassie,” Hendricks said during the mid-innings break on Saturday.

The 34-year-old from Kimberly in Cape Province of South Africa, who has gained a huge reputation as a destructive white-ball player when he hammered a century on his ODI debut against Sri Lanka at Pallekele in 2018, was not unhappy about losing the chance of scoring his second century.

“(It) Wasn’t meant to ton up but happy overall. Found out I was in literally five minutes before the toss. Everything happened quickly. Tried finding my feet in the first couple of overs,” he said.

Hendricks said that they needed an early partnership after losing Quinton de Kock early and said he was quite happy to have contributed to helping the team recover.

Hendricks described as “Incredible” the innings from Heinrich Klaasen, who blasted a 67-ball 109 to help South Africa set England a target of 400 runs.

He gave Klaasen a lot of credit for his innings as conditions were quite hot and the team was under pressure. “We were under pressure after losing Aiden (Markram) and (David) Miller in quick succession. But Klaasen played an incredible innings. Think 400 is enough, I will back our bowlers to defend it,” said Hendricks.

Hendricks, who is playing his 30th ODI and has crossed the 2000-run mark in this match, played his previous ODI in September 2023 against Australia at the Centurion. Given a chance on Saturday, he once again made the most of his opportunity. He will be hoping to get more such chances in the future so that he can enhance his reputation as a destructive player in franchise cricket with similar pyrotechnics at the international level too.

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