Was destined to end leg spinners' career: Klaasen
"I fancy him quite a lot," before Wednesday night any South African batsman would not have dared to even think something remotely similar to this about Yuzvendra Chahal, let alone utter it. But after Wednesday, Heinrich Klaasen earned every right to boast a statement like that.
His 30-ball 69 had not ensured the three-match T20I series went into the decider but it also showed how to turn the predator into prey. Of the two times that South Africa have got the better of India in the limited-overs series so far, Klaasen has been at the forefront of both of them, decimating the Indian wrist spinners – sometimes with his unorthodox paddles and reverse sweeps and rest, with his ability to skip down and move back with equal panache.
Much like the Pink ODI, Klaasen was harsh on Chahal and took him for 23 runs in the 13th over – hitting him for two successive sixes and a boundary. Chahal finished with most expensive Indian figures in a T20I with 0-64 from four overs last night.
"I fancy him (Chahal) quite a lot. Especially when I was in amateur cricket, there were a couple of quality leg spinners in that time when I started my career. I faced Shaun von Berg (leg-spinner) at the Titans (Klaasen's domestic team) a lot as well," he said when asked about Chahal.
"We always made a joke that I need to finish the other leg spinners' career so he can go up. Sometimes it works. It is nice to hit the ball where one wants it to go. It came off tonight. I am very pleased...I just tried to cash in as much as possible," he said.
Klaasen said his attack on Chahal has not been pre-meditated.
"It wasn't planned. But the way their seamers bowled, the cutters, they've got very, very good skills as I have said before. I just fancied my chances more against the leggie, as I had more options against him.
While the rest of the South African batsmen have struggled to come to terms with the tricks of Chahal, Klaasen targeted the leggie to get extra runs.
"So when I got the first two boundaries, I thought this is the over I got to target. Maybe if I can get 20-odd in this over," he added.
He gave the crowd a lot to enjoy last night but Klaasen said it hard for him to enjoy himself in a match situation.
"But looking back, I'd probably go back home tonight, probably watch it, hopefully if recorded. But later tonight or tomorrow I will enjoy the innings," he quipped.
The power-hitter said he is living a dream right now.
"...if this is my last game, the weekend one (at Cape Town), so be it. I am happy with it. My dream is fulfilled. Now it becomes a job," he said.