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Red hot Rassie ready for Aussie rumble

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Rassie van der Dussen stroked a splendid 101 not out off just 51 balls, including 10 fours and four sixes against Pakistan in their warm-up clash on Wednesday. File Picture: Phando Jikelo, African News Agency (ANA)

Van der Dussen stroked a splendid 101 not out off just 51 balls, including 10 fours and four sixes, to spearhead a confidence-boosting run chase on Wednesday against Pakistan.

PROTEAS coach Mark Boucher may want to have a word with the T20 World Cup organisers about putting off the scoreboard when Rassie van der Dussen walks to the crease at the upcoming tournament.

Van der Dussen stroked a splendid 101 not out off just 51 balls, including 10 fours and four sixes, to spearhead a confidence-boosting run chase on Wednesday against Pakistan as the Proteas hauled in a 187-run target off the last ball in their final warm-up match.

The tall right-hander struck two boundaries off the last two balls to get the Proteas over the line. More importantly, though, in the context of the Proteas’ T20 World Cup campaign that starts against Australia in Abu Dhabi tomorrow, Van der Dussen’s strike-rate during Wednesday’s innings was 198.03.

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Although an integral part of the Proteas T20 squad due to his consistency, Van der Dussen has come under pressure in recent months with regards to his strike-rate, especially during the first 10 balls he faces.

Equally, when he has approached a personal milestone there has seemed to be a lack of overall game awareness that has put the incoming batsmen at a disadvantage when they arrive at the crease.

However, with no on-site scoreboard available during the warm-up game, and the Proteas having to chase over nine runs to the over from the outset, it seems to have allowed Van der Dussen to break free from the shackles that often restricts him. It also helped that he came in at No.3 – his favoured T20 position – due to Aiden Markram sitting out the final warm-up match.

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“Obviously (it feels) very good (to get the hundred). Not having a scoreboard helps because I didn’t even know I was close to that. I think the lesson there is take it ball by ball and have your game plans. Trust in them and play the situation of the game according to the run-rate required,” Van der Dussen said.

Mark Boucher, coach of South Africa during the 2021 One Day International South Africa training session at Supersport Park, Pretoria, on 06 April 2021. Picture: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

“We wanted to give ourselves a chance upfront, but I thought we were a bit behind in the powerplay. We knew though during the middle period we would have boundary options and if we executed them we would get close and the thought was always to have a guy in to put them under pressure.”

Van der Dussen shared a 107-run partnership with captain Temba Bavuma, who surprisingly came in at No.4 during the game, and he paid credit for the way the skipper took the pressure off him with a 42-ball 46 during that period of the match.

“The guys that came in that played around me played really well. And then sometimes when you’re chasing a big score you stay in fifth gear and the scoreboard tells you how to play. Throughout the innings I thought we managed it well. Maybe we needed a bit too many off the last three overs, but we executed our boundary options well,” Van der Dussen said.

Always the voice of reason, Van der Dussen did not want to get too excited about the victory but believed that the Proteas batting line-up is starting to run into some form just at the right time especially as they now have a better understanding of the conditions.

“The guys have been batting well and Quinny (de Kock) hasn’t even come off yet,” he said.

“I think it is vital to spend time on these wickets. They are a bit lower and slower, especially at night when it gets a bit skiddy and low. It does change. We know what to expect going forward. And we will take a lot of confidence from it.

“But I suppose the real test is on Saturday and we will take the learnings from this.”

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