Hobbling around with cramps in his legs in hot and humid conditions, Henrich Klassen played one of the best knocks in this event as he blasted a 61-ball century to help South Africa post 399/7 against England in a crucial match of the ICC Men's ODI World Cup at the Wankhede Stadium here on Saturday.
With a sporting crowd chanting his name, Klaasen struck 12 boundaries and four maximums as he blasted 109 runs off 67 balls, and shared a brilliant 151-run partnership with Marco Jansen (75 not out off 42) as South Africa set England a tough chase after being asked to bat first.
Coming in for action after Reeza Hendricks (85) and Rassie van der Dussen (60) along with skipper Aiden Markram (42) had laid the foundation for a big score, Klaasen showed why he has emerged as one of the most destructive middle/lower order batters currently in white-ball cricket as he destroyed England's bowling with an aggressive knock, manufacturing shots with brute force and great timing, and left the bowlers shellshocked.
Klaasen came in to bat with South Africa 164/3 in the 26th over and raised 69 runs for the fourth wicket partnership with Markram before causing mayhem at the Wankhede during his sixth wicket partnership with Jansen, getting bowled to a tired-looking shot in the final over. It was his innings that took South Africa, projected to reach 325 at the 40 overs mark, added 74 extra runs to their total and set England a massive chase.
Klassen was brilliant as he went after bowling soon after settling down. scoring the 15th hundred for South Africa in the World Cup and his fourth three-figure knock in ODIs. Jensen made his mark with boundaries whenever he got the chance as he helped Klaasen give a score that they will be very confident about defending.
Klaasen and Jansen went ballistic in the last four overs, hammering 84/2 as South Africa nearly crossed the 400-run mark. Jansen remained unbeaten on 75.
Reece Topley, who bowled in two spells separated by a left index finger injury, was the most successful England bowler with 3-88 but it was Adil Rashid who held his head high amid the carnage with 2-61 off his 10 overs.
Earlier, Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen came together after South Africa had lost opener Quinton de Kock to the second ball of the innings when he was adjudged to have edged Reece Topley back by the third umpire after Ultra Edge prompted him to think so after England sought a DRS review. De Kock had struck Topley for a four off the first delivery.
Hendricks and Rassie built the innings cautiously, scoring in singles in the first five overs of the mandatory Power-play before shifting gears in the next five as they took South Africa to 59/1.
Hendricks, who has been knocking on the South African selectors' doors, got his first opportunity in the World Cup 2023 when skipper Temba Bavuma pulled out of the match because of illness, hammered nine fours and three sixes as he laid the foundation for South Africa's big score, pulling, driving and punching the ball as he added 121 runs for the second wicket partnership with Rassie van der Dussen (60).
Hendricks struck David Willey for back-to-back fours and then smashed Joe Root for maximums in successive balls -- his best shots on the day -- as he completed his half-century in 48 balls.
Van der Dussen was equally good at the other end as he struck eight boundaries, playing smart cricket as he helped Hendricks in getting South Africa a good start.
He struck Topley for fours off successive deliveries, the first one nearly taking off the bowler's left index finger and leaving him out of the ground for more than an hour for treatment. A couple of fours off Willey and Mark Wood and one superb one boundary off Root helped him to complete his 14th ODI half-century off 49 deliveries. He became the first of leggie Adil Rashid's two victims, top-edging a slog-sweep to Jonny Bairstow at midwicket, outfoxed by a slower one.
Rashid then sent back Hendricks for 85, just when it was looking like he would go on to get his century but Rashid castled him with a well-disguised googly.
Skipper Aiden Markram contributed a 44-ball 42 and Marco Jansen but in the end, Heinrich Klaasen and Marco Jensen made all the difference for South Africa. Klaasen slammed a sensational century while Jensen hammered a half-century to take them close to 400 and set England their biggest chase in World Cup history.
South Africa 399/7 in 50 overs (Reeza Hendricks 85, Rassie van der Dussen 60, Heinrich Klassen 109, Aiden Markram 42, Marco Jensen 75 not out; Reece Topley 3-88, Adil Rashid 2-61) against England.