Friday night witnessed two stellar knocks, miles apart, which set social media on fire. In Sri Lanka, at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, Shubman Gill smashed a stunning 121, his maiden ton in the tournament and fourth in the format this year in the Asia Cup Super Four match against Bangladesh. 469 kilometres away, in Centurion, South Africa sar Heinrich Klaasen smashed a thundering 174 in the fourth ODI match against Australia. While most ardent cricket followers from the Asian subcontinent had their eyes on the proceedings in Colombo despite it being an inconsequential tie, batting legend Virender Sehwag seems to have overlooked Gill as he was blown away by Klaasen’s masterclass.
Rassie van der Dussen, who was dropped in the previous game, notched up a smart fifty against Australia, taking on Adam Zampa and adding to his nightmarish outing in Centurion. Klaasen, on the other hand, took his time to settle in, hit the ocassional boundaries, to get to 29 off the first 28 balls he faced, and only turned the heat moments before Rassie’s dismissal. That was the last moment of joy for the visitors, who then faced the wrath in the final 10 overs with Klaasen going bonkers.
Klaasen showed no mercy to any of the Aussie bowlers as he smashed 13 boundaries and as many sixes to carve out one of the most destructive knocks of all time. South Africa, from 171 for three in the 33rd over, finished with 416 for five, courtesy of the whirlwhind partnership between Klaasen and David Miller, who scored an unbeaten 82 off 45. Klaasen eventually remained not out at 174, missing out on breaking Kapil Dev’s all-time world record (175) for highest individual score from No.5 or below in ODIs by a whisker.
Despite Gill carving out a fine show in Colombo for the Indian fans ahead of the World Cup, Sehwag has his eyes on Klaasen and hailed it as one of the best batting shows he has ever come across in recent times.
“What an innings, Heinrich Klaasen , first 25 balls 24 runs, next 58 balls 150. The best hitting i have seen in a long long time,” he posted.
“I am trying to take everything in. It’s a special day, you try to take in everything. I can’t remember a lot of the innings, have to go back and probably watch it tonight,” Klaasen had later said after he collected the Player of the Match award for his knock as South Africa won by 164 runs to level the five-match series at 2-2. The final ODI will be played on Sunday in Johannesburg.
As for Gill, he is now gearing up for the Asia Cup final on Sunday in Colombo against defending champions Sri Lanka.