Rassie van der Dussen hasn’t let up. He scored a century against India in Paarl and one against England in England last year, leading up to a World Cup year.
The No.3 position in the batting order is probably the most important in the line-up. It demands a complete package of a batter – an accumulator, an aggressor and a master in reading and adapting to conditions.
It asks of a player to be at his best in setting targets and in chasing down scores. At No.3 a batter needs to be able to willingly shift through the gears according to what the games needs and to guide the middle-order to a solid foundation.
As we have seen in the ongoing World Cup, the two new-balls used in 50 over cricket heavily favour the bowling unit, thereby putting opening batters at the mercy of the skill of the new-ball bowlers.
Meaning, more often than not, Rassie van der Dussen will come to the crease sooner rather than later, perhaps in the first PowerPlay as he did in South Africa’s World Cup opener over the weekend.
— Proteas Men (@ProteasMenCSA) October 7, 2023
Australia’s No.3 Steven Smith also came out to bat very early in their contest with India on Sunday and so did Virat Kohli, India’s No.3 batter. England’s Joe Root and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson also bat at three for their countries.
The importance of this batting position is vividly displayed in the calibre of batters occupying that spot for most teams in this World Cup, meaning Van der Dussen is just as good a player as any of these batters.
The Lions player has owned that spot from as far back as the 2019 World Cup in the United Kingdom.
It was his first World Cup but he was a picture of reassurance for South Africa whenever he walked in to bat and in what was a struggling batting unit at the time.
Four years down the line, Van der Dussen hasn’t let up. He scored a century against India in Paarl and one against England in England last year, leading up to a World Cup year.
In this 2023 edition, Van der Dussen started the tournament with a signature century, an almost flawless innings to guide South Africa to a record 428/5 total.
What makes Van der Dussen so underrated?
It is simply due to a short-term memory from fans and pundits around the world. His form in Test cricket also contributes in how unfairly he has been perceived in Proteas colours.
But in the One-Day International format, Van der Dussen is among the best batters in the world and will be crucial for South Africa when they take on Australia on Thursday.