During a thrilling encounter between Seattle Orcas and MI New York, in the inaugural Major League Cricket season, Heinrich Klaasen, the South African wicketkeeper-batter, showcased an outstanding display of power-hitting. In a rare and explosive over against Rashid Khan, he smashed three sixes and a four, accumulating an impressive 26 runs.
The over began with Klaasen unleashing two back-to-back sixes, the first one being a remarkable shot off the back-foot against a slightly short delivery, followed by an aggressive front-footed hoick over mid-wicket. The next two deliveries from Rashid were also short, and Klaasen capitalised on them, taking a double and then hitting a boundary and another six.
Throughout the match, Klaasen exhibited his skill in quickly analysing the bowlers' lengths and adapting accordingly. His brilliant batting performance, including nine fours and seven sixes, eventually led the Orcas to successfully chase down MI's challenging target of 195 runs with four balls to spare. Notably, Klaasen's unbeaten 110 off just 44 balls was instrumental in securing the Orcas' fourth victory out of five matches in the MLC.
Rashid Khan, usually a formidable bowler, conceded the fourth-highest number of runs in his T20 career during this game. It was only the seventh instance in T20s where a bowler had conceded 20 or more runs in a single over.
Despite his phenomenal knock, Klaasen humbly acknowledged that his innings wasn't entirely free-flowing. Nonetheless, his exceptional performance undoubtedly left a lasting impact on the match and earned him well-deserved praise from fans and teammates alike.
"I knew it was going to be difficult," Klaasen said. "I couldn't find my swing at the start. My formula is to go after the bowlers but it wasn't easy as they have a phenomenal bowling attack. I found my confidence after taking on Rashid but then struggled to find my swing again."
"Trent Boult's last over (18th over, where he took three wickets) got me nervous but luckily we crossed the finish line. I pride myself on not getting out in the middle overs and tried to keep a strike at 140-150 and I made sure that we don't fall behind the asking rate," he added.
The Orcas secured the top spot in the group stage, and their next challenge awaits as they face off against the Texas Super Kings in the upcoming first qualifier, scheduled for Thursday.