Heinrich Klaasen is fast developing a reputation that will give spinners the world over sleepless nights.
The Proteas middle-order batter is taking no prisoners and is sparing not even the finest slow bowlers the world has to offer.
Klaasen’s latest casualty is Afghanistan’s superstar Rashid Khan. Playing for the Seattle Orcas in Major League Cricket in the United States, the ginger-haired right-hander tore into Rashid enroute to a 44-ball 110 not out (9x4, 7x6).
It was a belligerent batting display, especially with Klaasen having reached just 13 off the first 12 deliveries he faced.
But from thereon the MI New York bowlers took a pounding, particularly Rashid who was belted for 26 runs in the 17th over.
“It was a difficult wicket. A little bit two-paced so I need to identify my strengths at the start of my innings. There is a little time where it's really tough to see the ball. I struggled to hit it at the start and could not find my swing at the start,” Klaasen said.
“But the outfield is nice and quick, which I used to my advantage, and the wicket didn’t turn a lot. He (Rashid) bowled a length that I enjoyed. The wicket was good against the spinners. The boundaries are not too big, so I tried to give it everything in the swing.
“He gave me a ball that I could take out the slog sweep, and then I knew this over had to be a big one. Then he bowled a few in my area and I knew I had to take advantage.”
Klaasen has enjoyed incredible T20 franchise league form the past 12 months, which has included three centuries on three different continents.
He was Durban’s Super Giants leading scorer - and fourth overall in the competition - during the inaugural Betway SA20 season with 363 runs at an average of 60.5. It was during the SA20 that Klaasen struck his maiden T20 ton and the runs have not stopped flowing.
He followed it up with a breakout Indian Premier League season where he bashed a further 452 runs at an average of 49.78, which also included another unbeaten century for the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
And now he currently leads the run-scoring charts at MLC with 231 runs in five innings at an average of 77.
Although Klaasen has routinely cleared the boundary during these run-sprees, he attributes his success to the lack of dot balls during his innings.
“I pride myself on not getting bogged down. Always keen to keep rotating the strike. As long as the scoreboard keeps ticking, you are not falling too far behind the run-rate. My idea is to keep the momentum rolling,” he said.